A selection of reactions to Mladic's arrest

AP News
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Posted: May 26, 2011 5:39 PM
A selection of reactions to Mladic's arrest

A selection of quotes in response to the arrest Thursday of Ratko Mladic, the top Bosnian Serb general during the 1992-95 Bosnian war who was wanted for genocide and other war crimes.

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"Today is 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. ... On this important day, we recommit ourselves to supporting ongoing reconciliation efforts in the Balkans and to working to prevent future atrocities. Those who have committed crimes against humanity and genocide will not escape judgment." _ President Barack Obama, from the G-8 summit.

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"President Karadzic is sorry for Gen. Mladic's loss of freedom and he looks forward to working with him to bring out the truth about what happened in Bosnia." _ wartime Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic, who is on trial for genocide, through his lawyer in The Hague to the AP.

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"This is an historic day for international justice. This arrest marks an important step in our collective fight against impunity." _ U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, during a visit to Paris.

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"Mladic will finally be held accountable _ to Bosnia and the world. ... Once again, we have seen that crimes against humanity will not escape the long arm of justice. His arrest also should allow the people of Serbia to take an important step toward integration into Europe and the international community." _ Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, in a statement.

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"I've always found it difficult to believe that the Serbian security people didn't know where he was." _ Richard Goldstone, the prosecutor who indicted Mladic and Karadzic in 1995, by telephone to the AP.

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"These victims have endured unimaginable horrors _ including the genocide in Srebrenica _ and redress for their suffering is long overdue. ... We believe that it can have a positive impact on reconciliation in the region." _ Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, in a statement.

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"Ratko Mladic deserves to be tried and convicted. He was the military commander who ordered the murder of thousands and attempted to destroy Bosnian society. His trial should teach again the grim reality of ethnic cleansing and, I hope, bring some comfort to those who survived. ... Mladic tried to become a conquering hero. Instead, he lived as a fugitive in obscurity and now faces years in custody. Justice works." _ former U.S Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, who was ambassador to the U.N. during the Bosnian war.

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"An important moment for the Mothers of Srebrenica." Statement from 6,000 women who lost relatives in the 1995 massacre, through their lawyers in Amsterdam.

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"This is a huge moment for the principle that people who engage in genocide will eventually be brought to justice, but also for Serbia. ...It's an interesting example too of the way that Europe and the prospect of European Union membership can act as a magnet for changing the behavior of countries, changing their political system. So it's big news and good news." _ Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, on Britain's Channel 4 News.

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"The European perspective for Serbia is brighter than it has been before. A very important condition that we've had is that they cooperate fully with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. The arrest of first Karadzic and now Mladic show that they are complying with this demand." _ Carl Bildt, Swedish foreign minister and former peace negotiator for Bosnia, by telephone to the AP.

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"His arrest is a clear message to accused like Omar al-Bashir and potential accused like Moammar Gadhafi that justice never forgets." _ Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's International Justice Program, in an email to the AP.

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"In the end people get chased, prosecuted and finally get put away. And justice will triumph. And again, in that sense, this is a special moment for very many people." _ Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, whose U.N. battalion was overrun by Mladic's troops at Srebrenica in 1995.

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"It's a very courageous decision of the Serbian president. It is a step toward integration of Serbia into the European Union someday soon." _ French President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking at the G-8 summit.

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"NATO has been a guarantor of security in the Balkans for the best part of two decades and today we have seen an important step toward a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. ... We remain committed to assisting the whole region." _ NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in a statement.

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"With the Tribunal nearing completion of its cases, domestic courts in the region must also remember their responsibility to prosecute war crimes suspects. These authorities must do much more to ensure that all victims of the horrific crimes committed by all sides to the conflict have access to justice." _ Sian Jones, Amnesty International's Serbia researcher.

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"I congratulate Serbia on its efforts to capture Ratko Mladic and I hope this will pave the way for Serbian accession talks to begin no later than 2012." _ Finland's Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, by telephone to the AP.