Obama lauds Serbia over Mladic arrest

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US President Barack Obama applauded Thursday Serbia's leader Boris Tadic for his "determined efforts" to ensure arrested Bosnian warcrimes suspect Ratko Mladic faces justice.

"Fifteen years ago, Ratko Mladic ordered the systematic execution of some 8,000 unarmed men and boys in Srebrencia. Today, he is behind bars," said Obama in a written statement issued at the G8 summit in France.

"I applaud President Tadic and the Government of Serbia on their determined efforts to ensure that Mladic was found and that he faces justice. We look forward to his expeditious transfer to The Hague."

Obama said the arrest of the most wanted remaining Bosnian war crimes suspect was an "important day for the families of Mladic's many victims, for Serbia, for Bosnia, for the United States, and for international justice."

"While we will never be able to bring back those who were murdered, Mladic will now have to answer to his victims, and the world, in a court of law.

"From Nuremberg to the present, the United States has long viewed justice for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide as both a moral imperative and an essential element of stability and peace.

"May the families of Mladic's victims find some solace in today's arrest, and may this deepen the ties among the people of the region," he said.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also congratulated Serbia for arresting Mladic.

"We commend President Tadic, the government of Serbia, its security services and all those who have labored for years to bring Mladic to justice," Clinton said in a statement released by the State Department.

"We look forward to his earliest possible extradition to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague so that justice may be served," she said.

"This is a great day for justice in the international system," the chief US diplomat added.

"Mladic's arrest serves as a statement to those around the world who would break the law and target innocent civilians: international justice works. If you commit a crime, you will not escape judgment, you will not go free," she said.

Clinton also conveyed "our deepest sympathies" to all those who lost loved ones to acts attributed to Mladic.

"We hope that Serbia's action in arresting Mladic will help Serbia move on, provide the opportunity to gain admission into the European Union and enable Serbia to build a brighter future as part of a whole, free, and peaceful Europe," she said.

© 2011 AFP

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