Hardcore fans of Partizan Belgrade football club staged a noisy demonstration in support of Ratko Mladic outside the UN detention unit near The Hague, where the wartime Bosnian Serb military chief is in custody.
Several dozen fans of the Serbian football club Partizan Belgrade gathered to chant former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic’s name outside the UN detention unit in Scheveningen in the Netherlands on Thursday.
While staging the protest, the Partizan fans, who had travelled to the Netherlands for their club’s UEFA Europa League match against AZ Alkmaar, displayed Mladic’s picture and right-wing symbols.
The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, which will judge Mladic’s appeal against his 2017 conviction for genocide and other wartime crimes, confirmed the incident took place.
“We are aware of the event that took place yesterday afternoon in front of a Dutch prison, part of the United Nations detention unit in The Hague. As regards this, the Dutch prison authorities called the Dutch police to resolve the situation,” MICT spokesperson Helena Eggleston told BIRN in a written reply on Friday.
Video of the incident was posted on Instagram by Partizan fan group SouthSide1970 and widely re-shared by Serbian media.
In November 2017, Mladic was convicted under a first-instance verdict of genocide of Bosniaks from Srebrenica, the persecution of Bosniaks and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terrorising the civilian population of Sarajevo and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.
The case has now gone to appeal.
The Serbian football club has already faced various UEFA sanctions because of the fan violence and racist chanting.
In August this year, Partizan was punished for “racist behaviour” during a match with Turkish club Malatyaspor.
UEFA also fined Serbian football club 24,250 euros because its fans threw objects and blocked stairways.
Partizan coach Savo Milosevic has denied that Serbian football has a problem with racism, telling BBC Sport on November 6 that “any kind of discrimination is unacceptable”.
Former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic is also currently being held at the UN detention unit, where war crimes defendants are kept in custody. Other detainees in the past have included Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.