Serbia arrests Ratko Mladic

Laura Rozen

Serbian authorities arrested fugitive war crimes suspect Gen. Ratko Mladic today, Serbian President Boris Tadic confirmed.

The most wanted war crimes suspect from the Bosnian war was apprehended by Serbian intelligence officials after evading arrest for 15 years. Mladic will be extradited to the Hague to stand trial for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

"We ended a difficult period of our history and removed the stain from the face of the members of our nation wherever they live," Tadic said in a press conference today, adding that an extradition process is underway.

Serbian independent broadcaster B92 reported that the arrest occurred near the Serbian town of Zrenjanin. Mladic had reportedly been using the alias Milorad Komadic, B92 said.

Mladic was the commanding general in charge of Bosnian Serb forces when they massacred more than seven thousand Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica over the course of several days in July 1995. It was the single worst massacre in Europe since World War II. He also led the three and a half year siege of the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, starving and sniping at the residents of the multi-ethnic city which had served as the host of the 1984 Olympic Games. An estimated 10,000 people died in the siege of the beautiful city.

Serbia has been under pressure to turn over Mladic to advance its bid for membership in the European Union. Tadic denied today that Serbia had dragged its feet in turning him over. But the arrest came as a top

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen cheered the news. "I strongly welcome the news that Ratko Maldic has been arrested and that his extradition to the Hague is underway," he said in a tweet.

(Undated 1992 file photo showing top war crimes fugitive Bosnian Serb Gen.Ratko Mladic.: Srdjan Ilic/AP)