Mladic's wife says genocide suspect is dead

2011-04-05 16:34

Belgrade - Bosiljka Mdladic, the wife of Europe's most wanted war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic, herself on trial for illegal possession of weapons, insisted on Tuesday that he has died.

"If he is alive, he would have found ways to call us," Bosiljka Mladic told the court as she claimed that the weapons found in their Belgrade family house during a police search in 2008 had belonged to the former general.

She said Mladic had suffered three brain strokes while hiding in Belgrade until 2001 and could not stay alive without medical help.

Wartime Bosnian Serb army commander Mladic is wanted by a UN war crimes court on genocide charges over the 1995 massacre of more than 8 000 Muslims - the worst carnage in Europe since World War II - in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, and other atrocities committed by his troops during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

UN prosecutors believe Mladic is hiding in Serbia under the protection of his wartime comrades.

Serbian authorities claim they are doing everything to find him.

His arrest is a precondition for Serbia's European Union membership bid.

Undermining search

Bosiljka Mladic told the judges that her husband had left the Belgrade family home in 2001 when former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was arrested and extradited to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Milosevic died in prison in 2006 of a heart attack.

Mladic's family insists that Ratko Mladic has passed away and wants the Serbian courts to declare him officially dead.

Serbian officials, however, said the family's bid to declare him dead without any evidence was aimed at undermining the search for him.
Bosiljka Mladic could face prison if convicted over the three guns, a rifle and 60 rounds of ammunition found during a police search of the house in the Serbian capital in 2008.

She stated in court on Tuesday that the discovered weapons had belonged to her husband and that he had forbidden her and their two children to "come near the cupboard" where the arms had been stored in a bedroom.