Serbs hint that Russia is helping war crimes fugitive

As the Guardian reported today, a recently WikiLeaked cable from Sept. 2009 features Serbian officials darkly hinting that Russia is assisting the former Bosnian Serb military Ratko Mladic, who his wanted by the Hague on war crimes charges:  Russia has not been forthcoming on Serbia’s requests for assistance in locating Hague indictee Ratko Mladic, presidential ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

As the Guardian reported today, a recently WikiLeaked cable from Sept. 2009 features Serbian officials darkly hinting that Russia is assisting the former Bosnian Serb military Ratko Mladic, who his wanted by the Hague on war crimes charges: 

Russia has not been forthcoming on Serbia's requests for assistance in locating Hague indictee Ratko Mladic, presidential advisor Miki Rakic told us on August 25. Rakic said he believed based on Mladic's profile that the former Bosnian Serb military commander was likely hiding in Serbia, possibly with assistance from foreign sources. Asking that the information "remain at this table," Rakic told us that he had posed a series of questions about specific contacts between Mladic associates and Russian diplomats, as well as phone calls and trips to Russia by Mladic associates, to FSB Director Aleksandr Bortnikov in June, to Russian National Security Advisor Nikolay Patrushev in July, and most recently to Presidential Administration Chief of Staff Vladislav Surkov. If the Russians did not respond before Medvedev's visit, Rakic said, Tadic would raise the issue himself.

The cables don't go into why it would be in Russia's interest to protect Mladic. And given European and American skepticism of Serbia's efforts to apprehend the alleged Srebrenica mastermind, it's hard not not to wonder if Belgrade is trying to pass the blame here. 

As the Guardian reported today, a recently WikiLeaked cable from Sept. 2009 features Serbian officials darkly hinting that Russia is assisting the former Bosnian Serb military Ratko Mladic, who his wanted by the Hague on war crimes charges: 

Russia has not been forthcoming on Serbia’s requests for assistance in locating Hague indictee Ratko Mladic, presidential advisor Miki Rakic told us on August 25. Rakic said he believed based on Mladic’s profile that the former Bosnian Serb military commander was likely hiding in Serbia, possibly with assistance from foreign sources. Asking that the information "remain at this table," Rakic told us that he had posed a series of questions about specific contacts between Mladic associates and Russian diplomats, as well as phone calls and trips to Russia by Mladic associates, to FSB Director Aleksandr Bortnikov in June, to Russian National Security Advisor Nikolay Patrushev in July, and most recently to Presidential Administration Chief of Staff Vladislav Surkov. If the Russians did not respond before Medvedev’s visit, Rakic said, Tadic would raise the issue himself.

The cables don’t go into why it would be in Russia’s interest to protect Mladic. And given European and American skepticism of Serbia’s efforts to apprehend the alleged Srebrenica mastermind, it’s hard not not to wonder if Belgrade is trying to pass the blame here. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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