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Here Ratko Mladic slept

Bosnian Serb war criminal Ratko Mladic's days on the loose are numbered. New Time has visited his secret hiding place.


[he piesak, Serbian Bosnia] For the past decade, this secret bunker has been the hideout and headquarters of Bosnian-Serbian army commander Ratko Mladic.

For many years, and as late as July 2004, Mladic hid in the military base at Han Pjesak. At the same time, a whole world hunted for the general, who is held responsible by the war crimes court in The Hague, among other things for the executions of 8000 Bosnian-Muslim men in July 1995.

Ny Tids reporter is sitting in a military jeep with several NATO and EUFOR officers, on their way up to the highlands of the Bosnian Serb Republic. All you see are endless plains, dense spruce forest, some houses, a few people.

Only a few journalists have visited the huge bunker complex, which since the end of the 1995 war has been under the control of the Bosnian-Serbian army. He Pjesak bunker is old Soviet-style, built to withstand a nuclear attack. 70 meters into Zepa Mountain, 150 soldiers can live here and work in isolation for up to six months. The complex is self-propelled, with its own water supply, power generators and ventilation systems.

He the Pjesak bunker was during the entire Bosnia war, from 1992 to 1995, the very command center of the military leadership of the Republika Srbska.

General Leakey stated this when the European forces took control of the bunker in December 2004: "The bunker has been used by people accused of war crimes. We are inspecting the installations now and they will be sealed and closed as soon as possible. ”

I was in the last delegation that visited the bunker before it closed.

Three Serbian-military officers are on guard outside the front door. They open a large iron door, which conceals a long, dark and damp tunnel. The complex is huge, with several departments spread over many floors. Operations department, warehouses and a dedicated unit for soldiers.

One of the whitewashed rooms stands out a bit from the others in size and standard: Here the war criminal accused Mladic spent the night from the 1990s until July 2004:

The room is divided in two, with a long gray desk, some worn brown chairs and an old gray telephone. Behind a curtain hides a closet and a large double bed of wood. In this bed, Mladic has slept while a whole world has been hunting for him.

On the folded bed is a large mirror, which gives associations to old superstitions and traditions when someone dies.

It is a strange feeling to be so close to the home of a war criminal. It is as if the cellar man can no longer withstand the light of day.

When we come out into the light again and drive away from the military bunker in Han Pjesak, it's like a curse was broken. The increasingly dynamic Balkans want out of the dark clingy past and into Europe.

Or as James Joyce put it: "History is a nightmare we want to wake up from."

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