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The Boy Who Took Chocolate From Mladic Looks Back

Izudin Alic visits the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in the town of Potocari
Izudin Alic visits the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in the town of Potocari
By Sadik Salimovic
PROHICI, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- It was a video that shocked and disgusted much of the world.

In July 1995, General Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb wartime commander, ruffled a young boy's hair, patted his cheek, and tossed him a piece of chocolate as television cameras rolled.

Just hours later, in the largest act of mass murder in Europe since the Holocaust, Mladic would oversee the massacre of more than 8,000 men and boys in the vicinity of the Bosnian city of Srebrenica. Among those killed was the 8-year-old boy's father.


The boy, Izudin Alic, is now a lanky 24-year-old man with brown hair and chiseled features. And on June 3 he was finally able to see the man responsible for his father's death in the dock.

Mladic, 69, was arrested last week by Serbian authorities after 16 years in hiding. He was extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague where he faces 11 counts of genocide and other crimes committed during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia.

In an interview with RFE/RL's Balkan Service, Alic describes his encounter with Mladic nearly 16 years ago.

"That was the first day I came to Prohici with my mother, grandfather, two brothers, and one sister. We were trying to find shelter. I was among other children and someone was giving us chocolate," Alic said.

"And then Mladic came, gave me a chocolate, patted me on the head and cheeks, but I didn't know who he was at that time. I took the chocolate, and I ate the chocolate. I didn't know anything; I was a child."

Massacre

Alic was among thousands of Bosnian Muslims, known as Bosniaks, who fled the Srebrenica area seeking protection from United Nations peacekeepers.

At the time, Srebrenica had been declared a safe haven by the UN where some 20,000 sought refuge. But Bosnian Serb forces, who outnumbered the Dutch peacekeepers protecting it, attacked the city anyway. Mladic's forces allowed the women to leave but separated out the men and boys and unleashed a brutal series of systematic mass killings. Over a decade later, forensic scientists are still working to identify the thousands of bodies left in mass graves.
Alic watches video footage of himself receiving chocolate from Mladic


When Srebrenica was attacked, Alic and his female relatives fled to a refugee camp near the northern Bosnian city of Tuzla for the remainder of the war. Today Alic is unemployed and gets by on occasional construction work. He and his family eventually returned to live in their native village of Prohici.

Speaking after a visit to the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in the town of Potocari, Alic had strong words for the former Bosnian Serb wartime commander: "Mladic is responsible for the genocide, for the massacre, for Srebrenica. Mladic should stand in front of the judges because he committed all these crimes."

At The Hague, Mladic has declined to enter a plea, calling the "monstrous words" being leveled against him "obnoxious" in his first court appearance today.

But Alic feels confident that justice will prevail.

"The Hague will prosecute him. He should be charged for these crimes because he is responsible for these acts, even though Mladic says he did not commit these crimes. I think he should be in The Hague or in jail for the rest of his life," Alic said.

Still, returning to the place of his father's death in the wake of Mladic's trial brings a rush of memories to Alic. He is grateful, he says, to be one of few Bosnian males to have survived the conflict.

"A lot of Bosniaks are buried here, but I don't like to remember the day genocide happened. I'm lucky -- I could be here as well, but I was lucky. Thank God, I survived," Alic said.

RFE/RL's Mirjana Rakela and Kristin Deasy contributed to this report 
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jack from: US
June 03, 2011 19:32
It was acknowledged previously that most stories about alleged Serb atrocities were in fact fabricated by Pentagon propaganda department. That was done in order to vilify Christians and justify US government support for Muslim terrorists in Bosnia and elsewhere. Why was it done? One reason is because US government is controlled by Jews who see Christians as their main enemies. Another reason is the false belief on the part of US government that by appeasing Muslims they can keep them away from attacking US itself. Hundreds of billions of $$$ which Saudis keep in US assets are certainly enough to buy most of US politicians and secure future US support for Wahhabi terrorists, even as those terrorists kill Americans by thousands, as happened on 9/11, as happened in Iraq (4000+ killed Americans), as happened in Afghanistan (1000+ killed Americans). US politicians would gladly sacrifice thousands of American lives to get paid by Saudis
In Response

by: Abdulmajid
June 05, 2011 19:09
what a poor deluded loon
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by: Mick Dundee from: Australia
June 06, 2011 00:52
Could'nt have said it better myself.
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by: Ric from: London
June 16, 2011 18:25
I guess Jack also thinks we didn't go to the moon, and we are secretly ruled by 9 foot Jewish lizards.

There is irrefutable proof of the massacre, even the Serbs now accept this. There were/are terrible, terrible acts performed by Croatians and Bosnian forces on innocent Serbs, but never on the scale of Srebrenica. And two wrongs do not make a right.
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by: Mujo from: US
June 16, 2011 20:12
I don't agree with a lot that you say, Abdulmajid, but these 5 words as true as can be.
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by: steve hansen from: Terre Haute, IN
June 06, 2011 04:20
what a fool jack is.
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by: mike levin from: ny usa
June 17, 2011 02:45
to jack from US....i am a Jew and you are an idiot....

by: Sturgeon from: U.S.
June 06, 2011 06:07
Jack is right, it's not hard to understand why Europe, the West made up lies about the Serbs and vilified them as the boogeyman of the balkans and as the most evil souless people there. Serbia is Orthodox, Europea is Catholic, Serbia has been a thorn in that part of the region for Europe for a long time and Serbia was the only obstacle to europe's plans to unite Islam (Turkey, Iran-in the long run) with bosnia, albania, and to harmonize they destroyed Serbia once and for all and gave victory to the muslims. Now that Serbia will be taken over by Brussels (EU) muslims the serbian threat no longer exists. Europe and muslims can celebrate all they want but I don't think this will bode well for them in the future, I hope europe enjoys radical islam and millions of muslims establashing it's home there. But something tells me that Europe will miss Serbia and These European Catholic-Islamists will pay in the future thanks to the state of Israel, America, and Russia which will punish them by geopolitical means this I have no doubt of.
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by: Abdulmajid
June 06, 2011 11:16
Utter nonsense.
But what is frightening is that you lot actually believe what you say.
Anyway the Bosniak people will prevail.

by: lilly from: canada
June 06, 2011 19:37
what a notorious lies about Mr Mladic?? He was honorable soldier of the highest rank, doing honorably his job, protecting his land and his people. No matter what you Mirjana write about him, you will never succeed portraying him the way you and other evil "writers" try in vain. We know and very soon the whole world will know trhyth about this amazing man, and when you mention his name you have to stand up!!!
In Response

by: Abdulmajid
June 07, 2011 19:18
What peace can there be with such anti-Muslim thugs, bigots and fascists thirsty for Bosniak blood who adore the Gengis Khan of our times, the second Pol Pot. Who cowardly hid himself away for 15 years.
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by: NoPartitionOfBosnia
June 07, 2011 19:19
Yeah, Ratko Mladic is a prince, an angel. Why don't the Serb Orthodox Church declare him a saint? Better still, why don't you nominate him for the Peace Nobel Prize???
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by: Ric from: London
June 16, 2011 18:28
Notorious lies ? Mladic is and was an evil murderer, responsible - directly responsible - for one of the biggest civilian massacres in the 20th century. There are no shades of grey here, he gave the orders, and people died because of their nationality and religion, nothing else, not because of some imagined anti-Serb conspiracy

by: Mujo from: US
June 16, 2011 20:18
Many Serbs don't like to admit, or even think about, the atrocities committed in the Balkan wars. This isn't because they are evil people. It's because they are good people who can't process the atrocities - the pure evil - that were carried out by a gang of thugs, in their name.

by: frank horras from: virginia
June 17, 2011 03:45
In plain english: Mladić is screwed ! and so are/was Karadžić ,Milošević and everyone on the following list of Serb murderers :
http://www.bosniafacts.info/web/serb_war_criminals.php



In Response

by: Owen from: London, UK
June 17, 2011 15:56
Mladic and the "big fish" may be screwed, but there are a lot of medium-sized and puny-scale pond life enjoying impunity, loot and pensions, like Branimir Savovic of Visegrad notoriety, for example.

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