Peace with the Past: The Arrest of Mladic

Thursday’s arrest of Ratko Mladic, who had avoided capture for 15 years, acts as a reminder that the need for justice has a long reach. The Serbian General is believed to be responsible for being the architect of, among other things, the siege of Sarajevo and the massacre at Srebrenica. Tellingly, Mladic will be handed over for trial for war crimes to The Hague by the Serbian government, a sign that times can change and that nationalism does not always precede doing the right thing. President Boris Tadic stated: “I think today we finished a difficult period in our recent history.” 

A woman visits the grave of her son, killed in Srebrenica (NY Times)

About a year ago, I wrote about positive developments toward reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia and other places, and the need to make peace with the past. More recently, I wrote about the biology behind guilt, forgiveness, and reconciliation within the context of the Second Indochina War (probably one of the most important things I’ve posted on this site). The arrest and impending trial of Mladic is the latest example that despite the many examples of inhumanity and brutality that we commit against each other, it is possible to remain optimistic that justice is not always elusive.

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