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Bosnian TV airs 'Mladic pictures'

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The footage shows Ratko Mladic enjoying a walk in the snow

Bosnia's Federation TV has broadcast what it says are videos of the fugitive former Bosnian Serb army chief, Ratko Mladic, filmed over the past 10 years.

One video allegedly showed Gen Mladic standing with two unidentified women during the winter of 2008.

He is wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on war crimes charges in connection with the Bosnian civil war.

A Serbian minister said it was "simply impossible" there was video from 2008.

"The material that was shown last night was seized in Mladic's house in December 2008 and handed to the Hague Tribunal in March this year," said Rasim Ljajic, the chairman of the Serbian National Council for Co-operation with the ICTY.

"Not a single shot is less than eight years old."

Mr Ljajic said he believed the videos had been released to increase the political pressure on Serbia days before EU foreign ministers are due to discuss its progress towards co-operating with the tribunal.

CHARGES AGAINST MLADIC
Ratko Mladic in Vlasenica in 1995
Genocide
Crimes against humanity
Violations of laws of war

"It is obvious that some within the international community don't have the best intentions for Serbia," he added.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn also said he believed the footage was not recent, telling reporters in Brussels that it was "certainly not after spring 2008 when the new [Serbian] government was formed".

The latest indications of his whereabouts date back to 2006 "and his presence in Belgrade dates from a previous period," he said.

Serbia says it recently stepped up its efforts to find Gen Mladic and the former Croatian Serb leader, Goran Hadzic, the two remaining fugitives from the ICTY whose capture is considered a pre-condition for joining the EU.

The arrest in July of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic led to claims by some officials that Gen Mladic would be next. But there has since been no arrest.

Mr Karadzic is currently on trial at The Hague on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

'Not well'

FTV said the videos showed Gen Mladic had been living freely in the Serbian capital since his indictment by the ICTY in 1995 on 15 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Bosnia-Hercegovina between 1992 and 1995.

A man purported to be Ratko Mladic at a wedding in Sarajevo in 2000 (Bosnian Federation TV)
We went to soccer matches, to the police headquarters, to restaurants. Mladic moved freely around Belgrade throughout 2001
Branislav Puhalo, alleged former bodyguard of Gen Ratko Mladic

The footage showed him living in the Belgrade suburb of Kosutnjak and visiting his newborn granddaughter, it said, as well as in the company of serving senior Serbian army officers at a barracks in the city.

Gen Mladic, 67, is also allegedly shown at a wedding in September 2000 in Sarajevo's Kula district, and in the Serbian army barracks at Topcider.

"The last footage shown was most possibly recorded this winter and shows that Mladic is not well," the station said on its website.

In the video, a man assumed to be the general explains he is standing with his wife and daughter-in-law at a ski resort.

Despite scepticism about the reported age of the footage, it is pretty plain that Gen Mladic has been living quite a happy life and he does not look like a man who is worried, says the BBC's Alan Little, who covered the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

FROM BBC WORLD SERVICE

Gen Mladic is also shown surrounded by a lot of people, so clearly - while he has been on the run - a lot of people have known where he is, our correspondent says.

On Tuesday, one of Gen Mladic's former bodyguards testified that he had moved freely in Serbia under army protection until 2002.

Branislav Puhalo told a UN court in Belgrade trying 10 people charged with helping the general evade justice that he was guarded by about 50 heavily armed men who lived at a barracks in Belgrade.

Mr Puhalo said the unit was set up in 1997 under orders from the former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, who died in 2006 while on trial at the ICTY on war crimes charges.

"We went to soccer matches, to the police headquarters, to restaurants," he said. "Mladic moved freely around Belgrade throughout 2001."

"It was all legal," he added. "We were tasked with protecting Mladic from criminals and bounty hunters."

The protection unit was disbanded in March 2002, he said, almost a year and a half after Milosevic was ousted by democratic forces.



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