Arrestasjonen av general Ratko Mladic var ingen dristig operasjon, det var avtalt spill. I ett år har myndighetene forhandlet om hans overgivelse. Også franske, britiske og tyske diplomater har vært involvert.
Det som fikk Mladic til å overgi seg var løftet om at familien hans ville bli tatt godt hånd om.
Det var således intet overraskelsesmoment i pågripelsen.
The remarkable answer, according to Western intelligence sources who have spoken to The Sunday Telegraph, is that far from being a bin Laden-style lightning raid, Mladic’s arrest was an entirely staged event – the result not of police work but of negotiations by diplomats, who spent a whole year hammering out a deal to get him to surrender.
The deal, which suggests Serb intelligence at least had lines of contact to Mladic’s protectors, was sealed by appealing to the Serb hardman’s one known soft spot – his family. Told that they would be looked after properly if he give himself up, the prospect of ensuring the safe future for his wife, Bosiljka, and son, Darko, proved key in changing his mind.
“The negotiations about his surrender lasted slightly more than a year, with mainly French, British and German officials involved,” said one Western diplomat, who asked not to be named. “The Serbs took responsibility to work things out with him, and guaranteed that his family would be taken care of, and that he would get a pension and eventually a decent burial.
“After all, it’s better for him to go as a martyr to the Hague than die in some shabby military barracks or some wolf-lair in Serbia. He acknowledged that eventually and was talked out of suicidal martyrdom. As a result, Serbia gets her chance for EU membership, and he was just picked up by prior agreement in Lazarevo. There was no hunt operation at all.”
Ratko Mladic capture: Was it all an elaborate set-up?
As the 16 year man-hunt for Ratko Mladic ends, questions are being asked as to how the ‘Butcher of Srebrenica’ evaded capture for so long.