Paul Greenberg

They got another one. First it was the world's most wanted man, who was living comfortably in a Pakistani resort -- until those Navy SEALs came calling. Result: Osama bin Laden was brought to justice. Or rather justice was brought to him.

Then, just in time for Memorial Day, it was Ratko Mladic who was tracked down at last in some Serbian village. He'd been on the run so long that his name had become as hard to remember as it is for an American to pronounce.

But the world will never forget -- let's hope -- what Ratko Mladic did at Srebrenica in vivisected Bosnia during the 1990s while the world mainly stood by. Like the useless UN contingent that had declared Srebrenica a Safe City just before it became the unsafest city in Europe.

But what's a little blood, or even a lot, to the World Leaders ensconced at United Nations headquarters in New York? That high up and far away, those dignitaries weren't likely to hear the screams.

The name Ratko Mladic became only a fugitive memory over the years as the massacre at Srebrenica faded into a footnote. A Serbian general, he'd orchestrated a whole string of massacres as the old Yugoslavia came apart and the dream of a Greater Serbia replaced it, and turned into a nightmare for its neighbors.

Of all General Mladic's crimes, Srebrenica had to be the worst. Indeed, it was the worst massacre on the European continent since the Second World War, an era that's hard to top in the genocide department. Maybe impossible to top, let's hope.

But hope is no substitute for justice as a corrective, which is why last week's news was so welcome. Particularly because the "hero" of Srebrenica was arrested by Serbia's own domestic intelligence agency. Indeed, that country's now democratic government had put a $14 million bounty on his head, which the United States supplemented with $5 million more.

The general's arrest reminded the world that this is a new Serbia with a new leader who was able to announce with some pride last week that, by arresting this orchestrator of terror, his country had finally "removed the stain from the face of Serbia ."

How ugly was that bloody stain? At last count, some 8,000 men and boys were slaughtered during those ten days of murder, rape and torture at Srebrenica in July of 1995. As for the pro-forma protests of the international community, they were not just ignored but mocked at the time by the Serbian general.


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.