RATKO MLADIC "LAST IN HIS CLASS IN MILITARY ACADEMY"
Bosnian Genocide, August 1992. Sign (visible from Center to Right) written in cyrillic letters reads MINES. This is a photo of Manjaca concentration camp near Prijedor, north-west Bosnia. The camp was surrounded by mines to prevent escape of prisoners. Thousands of civilians, mostly Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) were tortured and killed there. Photographer: Patrick Robert
Retired ambassador Christopher Hill, in an interview broadcast by National Public Radio, recounted how he first met Ratko Mladic, former head of Serb army in Bosnia, in September 1995 during a dinner at a private hunting lodge owned by Bosnia's then-president Slobodan Milosevic.
"We sat down with Milosevic, and Milosevic said 'You know, I cannot negotiate this lifting of the siege of Sarajevo. At the time we had NATO bombs falling, and we were saying to the Serbs, you need to pull back your forces from Sarajevo," he recalled.
Then Milosevic pretended he couldn't do anything, even though Ratko Mladic and other highest ranking Bosnian Serb officials were meeting with him on a regular basis and getting millitary, financial and logistical support from Serbia.
"Milosevic said, 'I can't do it, but there's someone in the next room who can. I've brought Ratko Mladic and (Bosnian Serb leader) Radovan Karadzic here to talk," Hill said.
"We began a very difficult discussion that night [with] mean, grizzled-looking guy [Mladic]. He was very interested in showing what a tough military guy he was. He had his full field uniform on as if he had come out of combat operations or something," said Hill.
Hill was unimpressed with Mladic.
"My military contacts both in Macedonia and Serbia always told me he was last in his class in the military academy. It was interesting to watch the dynamic between him and his fellow indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Several times Mladic said, 'I'm not going to sit here,' and he stood up and began to leave and Karadzic brought him back to the table. He very famously slaughtered a pig right in front of the Dutch commander to give a sense of his brutality. I'll be very surprised if he tries to say 'I knew nothing'", said Hill.