Former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic, who is serving a life sentence for war crimes and genocide in the Netherlands, has sparked outrage with an interview broadcast on Serbian television.
"Grandpa Ratko sends you kisses," Mladic, 75, said during the interview on November 16. It was the first time Serbs had heard Mladic's voice since he was convicted in November 2017.
Mladic's son, Darko, phoned Mladic in prison during a live broadcast on Serbia's Happy TV and put the call on speaker phone.
Bosnian Muslim leader Bakir Izetbegovic told N1 television that Mladic's comments "rubbed salt in our wounds."
Serbian nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj, who was convicted of crimes against humanity by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in April, was present in the studio when Mladic spoke.
"Tell [Seselj] to come and see me to play chess," Mladic said.
Among other charges, Mladic was convicted of involvement in the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslim boys and men at the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.
Mladic maintains his innocence and is lionized by many ethnic Serbs in Serbia and Bosnia. In March, he appealed to UN judges to reverse his conviction.
The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), which took over the remaining work of the ICTY, issued a statement saying that Mladic "may have committed an offense" by speaking to the media without approval.
As a consequence, the MICT said it would monitor Mladic's phone calls for the next 30 days.