Bosnian-Americans in the Chicago area today welcomed news that longtime war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic had been captured in Serbia. Mladic is expected to stand trial at the International Criminal Court at the Hague for crimes dating back to when he was a Bosnian-Serb General. In 1995, Mladic was indicted for leading a massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica.
While Mladic's capture helps to close the chapter on the painful Bosnian war, Imam Senad Agic said there is still much more to be done to achieve full reconciliation between Bosnians and Serbs. Agic is a leader within Chicago's Bosnian-American Muslim community.
"We have some impression that the officials of Serbia knew about the location where he was hiding, but didn't do enough to capture him," Agic said, referring to Mladic.
Mladic was found hiding in Serbia under an alias.
"This could have happened much earlier," said Agic, "when General Mladic was younger and able to stand trial."
Agic fears that Mladic's age and apparent poor health may bring on an early death, before the ICC has completed its trial.
Chicago is home to one of the largest Bosnian-American communities. The Consulate General of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Chicago estimates that up to 40,000 Bosnian-Americans live in the area, and that half fled here in the 1990s as a result of the war.