Alex Jeffrey of Newcastle University writes about the recent arrest of Ratko Mladić. Alex had a piece in Society and Space in 2009 entitled “Justice incomplete: Radovan Karađžic, the ICTY and the spaces of international law“, which we have made open access to link to this piece.
Ratko Mladić: Haematological Narratives of Violence
Car horns hoot along Maršala Tita, the central road through the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, a muted celebration for the arrest of Ratko Mladić in the northern Serbian village of Lazerevo on May 26th 2011. Mladić has been indicted since July 1995 (amended later in 1995 and in 2002) by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on counts of genocide, complicity with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war, crimes that in part relate to the siege of Sarajevo between 1992 and 1995 and the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995. The arrest granted licence to media commentators to indulge in many of the spatial and temporal narratives that enframed the violence of in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Perhaps most noticeably, newspaper headline writers were quick to brand Mladić ‘The Butcher of Bosnia’, while The New York Times (2011) remarked that his arrest “should be a warning to other butchers that they, too, will be caught and held to account.” This sloganeering should not be dismissed as incidental, since it illuminates a set of haematological narratives that seek to offer visions of violence and redemption in the former Yugoslavia. Ideas of blood, blood-lust and circulation have been used to support specific geopolitical agendas within this region, and rather than reproducing these we must uncover the forms of accountability and resolution they endorse.
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