Anger, pain for Bosnian mothers as Mladic appears

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Bosnian women who travelled to The Hague for a court appearance Friday of Ratko Mladic, the man charged with killing their loved ones, expressed deep anger and pain at seeing him up close once again.

"I hope he has the strength to live through this case so that we and he can see justice done," said 63-year-old Munira Subasic who lost a son in the 1995 Srebrenic massacre of Muslim men and boys.

The massacre is at the core of genocide charges among the accusations facing Mladic, who risks a maximum life sentence.

"I am here with my pain, and so he is here with his crime," Zumra Sohomerovic, 55, said outside the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

"I feel very unhappy, very unsatisfied. I feel too much has been given to him, it does not do justice to what he has done" -- referring to medical treatment the ex-general was reportedly receiving at the UN detention unit.

Mladic, making his first appearance before the tribunal since his arrest last week after 16 years on the run, told the court he was a "gravely ill man".

For Sohomerovic, who witnessed the Srebrenica massacre -- the worst atrocity on European soil since WWII, seeing an ailing Mladic in the dock was small consolation.

"He is the same Mladic as in 1995. He is doing the same as he did in 1995 in Srebrenica, looking at us from the dock," she said.

Munira Subasic, president of an organisation grouping Bosnian women, said she was grateful to the ICTY for bringing Europe's most-wanted men to justice.

"I am grateful to (prosecutor Serge) Brammertz -- he did a good job. And I want to congratulate the European Union who 16 years later said they would accept Serbia only if Mladic was arrested, as well as the Serbian president," said Subasic.

Prosecutor spokesman Frederick Swinnen told AFP outside the court: "There is still a long road ahead of us, but this has been a very important moment."

© 2011 AFP

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