Mladic Faces Charges in The Hague
Ratko Mladic made his first appearance at the Hague, to face charges of war crimes arising from his actions in the 1990's during the Bosnian War. While claiming health problems, Mladic managed to verbally brush aside the allegations, calling them "obnoxious" charges.
"The whole world knows who I am," Mladic claimed. Whether or not that is the case, there is no doubt that his victims are aware of who he is. Dutch officer Rob Benner remembers Mladic well, unfortunately. "What can seven guys do with only one pistol, one hand grenade, an anti-tank missile and nothing more?" Benner asked. He went on to explain, "We saw all the buses and trucks with the Muslim men and boys in them taken away... Of course I feel guilty, I couldn't do anything about it, we had no weapons, we had nothing.. .People have the wrong image of what happened there." Not all scars from war are physical - there are the psychological ones as well. "It has affected me. I have my ups and downs - six girlfriends and a lot of stress later I am still dealing with it," Benner explained. "The images stick in your mind. I remember every little detail and now they have Mladic - it brings it all back."
Mladic may be arrogant now, but time will tell whether or not he will be able to maintain that facade. The formal indictment document is 62 pages long - a veritable laundry list of carnage. Bullet-resistant barriers sit between Mladic and those he harmed over the years. His claims of illness and reports of previously being treated for cancer are his verbal defense of the moment against listening to the charges being levied against him. While the trial may bring closure to some, it will also be a rehashing of the past for ones like Benner, battling daily with emotional scars from Mladic's vicious attacks.