PART III->What It’s Like to Chill Out With Whom the World Considers the Most Ruthless Men : Ratko Mladic, Goran Hadzic and Radovan Karadzic Confessions of a Female War Crimes Investigator

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Before retiring for the evening I went for a small walk around the
corner from the hotel to buy some snacks; there was a small store
there. I never felt endangered at any time by anyone. During my stay
in Montenegro I walked to the store myself almost daily buying drinks
and other items I could enjoy privately in my room at night. I never
noticed previously to that evening’s walk just how many persons
actually were vacationing from Western Europe in Budva the fall 2002
like me.

After promenading to the store, upon returning to the hotel, a German man sitting outside the hotel and speaking in
broken English introduced himself. When I told him that I was from New
Jersey in the United States he became extremely interested and warmly
said he is pleased I was able to enjoy the area. I replied, “I was
tired and needed to retire.” Saying he understood he returned to his
card game.

We had the usual dinner at which time Bojana was overcome with a terrible toothache. I told her I’d pay for the
filling tomorrow; Darko knew a dentist ten meters from Kosovo‘s
border. Tomorrow we‘d swim there and have Bojana‘s tooth looked at.
The town we went to the next day possessed an ethnic Albanian majority
and organized crime was everywhere.

We awoke early as to get Bojana to the dentist. This is actually where
the Montenegrin bank had refused to exchange our money for Euros.
Managing cash was difficult in Serbia and Montenegro owing to that the
national currency in Serbia was still dinars and in Montenegro it was
Euros. Most businessman preferred either Euros or American dollars,
but one never knew which.

Upon parking, Darko led the way down the busy street towards the dentist who I remember being an ethnic
Albanian man. Apparently, they visited this dentist previously and he
was extremely friendly. Not at any time did any ethnic Albanians cause
me, Darko or Bojana any problems because I was American and they were
Serb. The dentist was going to take a while and since the bank would
not exchange our American dollars for Euros, we could buy neither lunch
nor anything else and we all possessed a ravenous hunger for lunch.

Ignoring Darko’s warnings not to go wondering myself, I left the
dentist office under the pretense of going for a walk while Bojana had
her dental work completed. Before Darko could catch me I was gone. I
walked up the main street about one mile and began asking people in
English where I could exchange United States currency for Euros. I
came upon a well dressed ethnic Albanian high school student, a girl
speaking perfect English who told me to walk up the street about
another half mile and when I see men selling the cigarettes outside on
a bridge table, ask them to do the deed; I did.

The girl asked me about America saying her greatest wish was to study in New
York City one day. When I told her about my experience at the New
School for Social Research, being dismissed for my anti NATO views on
the Kosovo war she replied to me, “maybe she was wrong about wanting to
study in Manhattan.”

I made my way to the table with about five ethnic Albanian men hanging about selling cigarettes and asked
them in English if they could exchange money for me; they did. They
were definitely organized crime. They took my wet cash, examined the
bills, one man walked into an apartment building with my cash while I
merely waited. He didn‘t rob me and returned with my Euros.

Surprisingly, I found everyone in both Serbia and Montenegro very
honorable in their business dealings; even if those dealings are
organized crime.

Upon receiving my Euros from the men, I walked away back to see if Bojana was through with the dentist; she
was. I excitedly told Darko that I had successfully managed to
exchange American dollars for Euros thinking he’d be pleased with me;
he wasn’t. Darko was always very protective of me. Instead of
commending me he immediately got very angry; scolding me he said
exchanging money illegally in the streets of Montenegro was both
illegal and dangerous. You can’t change the past so I diplomatically
apologized and Darko soon forgot his anger I lieu of the fact that now
we all could have lunch. Afterward, Darko brought us to a beautiful
beach nearby. The majority of the sunbathers were ethnic Albanian and
again no one harassed us based on our ethnicity. I tried pushing
Darko into driving into Kosovo but he flatly refused. I found it
interesting that the international news at this time was reporting that
there were hundreds of thousands of homeless ethnic Albanians being
ethnically cleansed to Albania, I did not see one ethnic Albanian or
Roma homeless on the streets anywhere. All seemed normal only ten
meters from the Kosovo border. After a day of swimming and partially
nude sunbathing, we returned to the hotel.

Insofar as sequence of events, at this junction in time it was the last few days I
spent in Montenegro; it’s difficult now to remember the exact timeline
of events. In other words, I remember visiting Old Town and Podgorica
also in Montenegro but uncertain of which locations we visited first.

During the last two days, Darko took me one day to Old Town in
Montenegro for dinner; there we greatly enjoyed an expensive seafood
meal after which we walked around. Darko got a parking ticket that
night in Old Town and greatly complained about its five dollar fee;
for some, five dollars is equal to an entire week pay in Serbia. I
think I offered him the five dollars for the ticket feeling guilty
because it was only for my benefit he parked there at all. Darko
wanted to show me Old Town; he already knew what the beautiful cobble
stone streets looked like.
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We also went to the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica. I really don’t
remember much of Podgorica except for walking around the streets one
night. Since we didn’t swim there so it wasn’t a high point for me.
When our ten day stay in Montenegro was finished we all packed and
returned the way we came in Darko’s car. The day before we left,
Darko’s car required maintenance. We didn’t have enough cash on hand
left to pay for the needed repairs so I called Arnold Stark, my fiancée
in the states, asking him to please wire us five hundred dollars cash
to Montenegro; he did. This is a fact that Arnold himself can verify
being that he alone possesses the charge card receipt for wiring us the
money through Western Union to a town not far from Budva. With Darko’s
car repairs complete, we returned home for Beograd.

On the way back to Beograd we made two more important stops. One was
Hercegovni where we met up with Darko’s cousin, a soon to be freshman
college student and her friends. We had a couple of drinks, snapped
some photos and Darko and I went for a quick swim in the sea. When it
began to rain, we called it a day. The other stop was somewhere on the
way back, where I have no idea. We pulled up to a large lake. Darko
pulled his car onto a large ferry boat. There were some people on the
ferry, but primarily soldiers from the Serbian military. Reaching the
other side we drove around but I can’t remember much.
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Returning on the ferry, we piled into Darko’s car and appeared at his apartment several hours later. We were all extremely exhausted and
passed out as soon as possible in our separate rooms. Again, we walked
past the same old men sitting in front of Darko’s apartment building
seeming to do nothing; they waved at us.
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There were only two days left of my vacation at this point; I didn’t feel like doing much of anything. I’d come down with terrible stomach
symptoms that began in Budva several days prior. This was probably
owing to my ignoring Darko and Bojana’s warning not to drink tap water
but only bottled; a lesson I ought have learned in Indonesia as a young
girl.

We were all feeling tired and slightly under the weather merely wanting to recuperate. Notwithstanding, Darko, always
an avid early morning riser, insisted we promenade Beograd’s renown
indoor marketplace; an extremely large indoor flea market. We walked
approximately an hour or two. I tried on several dresses before
finally buying myself one; the type I can’t recall. Bojana bought
herself Serbian brand makeup after which Darko informed us it’s time to
leave.

Shopping was always boring to Darko unless it was for himself and during his stay in the United States Darko, Bojana and
I hit many malls in New York and New Jersey such as Willow brook in
Wayne, New Jersey. Other favorite stores we often visited were Daffy’s
and Macy’s in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. I vividly remember the
Republika Srpska diplomatic contact, Dejan Miletic,
to the Hague court in the Netherlands visiting. Me, Darko, he whose name was, Dan,
Dejan Miletic (he gave me his busines card at the restaurant), in
English, along with my daughter little Jill went to Macy’s at the
Willow brook Mall in Wayne NJ allowing Dan to buy some gifts for his
girlfriend back in Bosnia. Afterwards, we all enjoyed a wonderful
lunch at Six Brothers Diner on Route 46 not to far from Montclair State
University in New Jersey.

I can’t recall whether it was prior to vacationing in Budva or after, but close to the Beograd
marketplace we visited the apartment of a Serbian basketball player and
his disc jockey roommate (the walls of the apartment were covered with
music CD’s from around the world). It was a very impressive CD
collection. He said he often spent time in Manhattan studying when not
having to compete.

I became increasingly sad during this time owing that in another day I’d again be saying goodbye to the man I
loved, Darko; perhaps leaving Serbia forever. I wanted to stay and
live in Beograd permanently but I had duties to my graduate studies at
FDU in Hackensack, New Jersey. Had I known the university (FDU) would
be soon dismissing me from their graduate program similarly to the New
School for Social Research, I would have stayed in Beograd. I always
told Darko my greatest desire was to live in Serbia and/or Montenegro.
He always replied, “Jill you have your children and your studies
now. After your children leave and you complete your graduate degree,
then you can come reside in my country.” After the New School
discriminated against me and I was recently receiving poor grades at
FDU from professors that had formerly studied and graduated from the
New School themselves, I felt I wanted to leave America thinking
strongly I would have more academic freedom in Serbia. In fact during
my entire Serbian trip, I discovered that myself and others freely
spoke our minds on a myriad of subjects such as politics and theology
without being badgered. This was my personal experience and I know
allegedly not all Serb citizenry under previous regimes enjoyed such
privilege.

Upon leaving the marketplace we enjoyed lunch at Darko’s which Bojana prepared; she was an excellent cook! My
favorite Serbian food is Gibanica (I think this is the correct
spelling). Gibanica is an exquisite main dish comprised of Greek filo
dough, beef, cheese and sometimes spinach baked in layers similarly to
Italian lasagna. After lunch, I decided to walk by myself to a local
store for purchasing some items. I wanted some air alone outside not
wanting Darko to see me cry. As aforementioned, I became extremely sad
about returning to the United States the following day. When returning
to the apartment, Darko suggested I nap a while so I did. I don’t
remember what time it was when Darko knocked on my door waking me up.
He informed me we were heading out soon to meet up with a friend of
his named, Sharko, he wanted to introduce me.

We left Darko’s apartment after dusk and about ten minutes later parked nearby
a beautiful green park lined with trees along the river, somewhere in
Beograd.

Uncertain exactly where we were going, I allowed Darko and Bojana to lead. Strolling down the narrow paved path a few
feet wide cutting into a grassy hill, we headed directly towards a boat
restaurant. Traversing the small shaky wooden bridge, we boarded. The
place was empty; we were the only persons present besides one
waitress.

We sat as follows; Darko and Bojana sat next to each other as in American restaurant booth’s and I sat alone
across vis-à-vis. The boat itself was very luxurious resembling the
interior of several large boats formerly owned by the late Aristotle
Onassis. I have several books on Aristotle Onassis so I have seen
photos of the interior of his large boats. The waitress came over to
take our order; there was no menu. We verbally told her which libation
we wanted; as she walked away Sharko came in. Sharko was Ratko Mladic;
he wore old faded blue jeans sagging a bit around his waist.
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I wasn’t scared at all. When first shaking hands with Mr. Mladic I
thought quietly, this couldn’t possibly be happening; but it in
objective reality it was really happening. I’ve met many interesting
people since graduating WPUNJ in New Jersey in 1997. I personally
coined the term, extreme sociologist which I consider myself. I may
not be rich, but achieved my scholarly goals notwithstanding either FDU
or the New School for Social Research in Manhattan dismissing me from
their graduate study programs. Since completing my undergraduate
degree, I’ve desired to better understand our world by meeting with and
talking with the world’s most controversial individuals. I believe in
traveling to hidden and seemingly remote places around the world,
partaking in local cultural activities for better understanding
wherefore people behave as they do.

Mladic first seated himself across from me, in a separate chair the right of Darko. The
waitress returned asking Mladic what he preferred to drink; he ordered
expensive wine saying jokingly it was “two hundred dollars a bottle,”
smiling. I was already drinking an alcoholic beverage of some sort I
can’t remember along with Bojana. Darko rarely drank and sipped on
something non-alcoholic. Extolling me to Mladic,

Darko explicated whereby I was the only American college student standing
firm on grave issues pertaining to international justice insofar, the
NATO and the former Yugoslavia.

Darko finished boasting about me to Mladic after which I in an extremely forceful forthright
manner explained to Mladic my political views insofar as NATO’s
breaching international law by launching military aggression against
the former Yugoslavia, by bombing the Chinese embassy in Beograd, and,
by purposely bombing other civilian targets in Serbia and Montenegro in
1999. I have a film of when NATO bombed a newborn baby hospital unit
in Beograd; disgraceful!

Mladic seemed impressed with my viewpoints on war and peace. He was very warm friendly man; very
relaxed and laid back. He smiled the entirety we were chilling out
just enjoying each other’s company and drink. Hanging out with Mladic
was no different than chilling with my other friends back in America.
I ordered another drink with Darko’s disapproval. As aforementioned,
Darko strongly disdained mind altering substances, always trying to
help me overcome my craving for them. Then, Mladic opened his wallet,
showing me photos of his wife and children; he had a very attractive
family as portrayed in his wallet sized photos. I think he missed
them, perhaps empathizing to the loss I felt being estranged with my
own two children for so many agonizing years.

Like General Mladic, I possess very few photos of my own children. The photos
Mladic had in his wallet were obviously very old because his children
were still very young in the pictures. It was evident he didn’t have
any recent photos of his family in many years; I sympathized with him
in this respect. After reminiscing over family photos he got up
sitting next to me across from Darko and Bojana. I let him hold my
hand gently massaging it. He kissed my hand, inviting me to spend the
night with him in the hills of Beograd; I declined on account of my
strong Orthodox Christian theological convictions. I admit Mladic
having warm inviting hands and greatly enjoying the manner in which he
touched me. I did consider him an attractive man; yet as
aforementioned I declined his invitation.



He accepted my decision although he did ask me again; again I replied
the same answer. It was getting late and I was departing Serbia the
following day in the afternoon. Still sipping my drink, I began urging
Darko to return to America with me making a life for himself teaching
as a professor at a university.

In retrospect, I now feel tremendous guilt and shame because of my advances towards Darko owing
to Bojana my best friend sitting there with me vis-à-vis. Feeling a
bit tipsy from drinking, Mladic continued making sexual advances
towards urging me to go home with him. Darko laughed seemingly
thinking Mladic’s advances towards me were cute stating, “go ahead
Jill, spend the night with Sharko, it’s fine…Sharko‘s a good friend of
mine…don‘t worry if you want to…I promise you’ll not miss your flight
back to America tomorrow…“ I continued declining the advances and when
it became obvious I wouldn’t change my mind, Darko said we had to leave
because I had to finish packing for my flight and get a good nights
sleep.

We all departed identically to boarding the boat restaurant, crossing the small narrow wooden bridge; Sharko/ Mladic
departed with us. After exiting, Mladic and I stood in front of the
boat restaurant for several minutes. I began crying because I loved
Serbia not wanting to leave the next day. Mladic pulled me close to
him and embracing me, he kissed both my cheeks. I kissed his cheeks
also embracing him.

In examining photos online of the Topcider Serbian military barracks in Beograd recently, the photo
scenes look identical to where I met Ratko that night. Even the photos
of the trees, walkways and benches/Gazebo and river where we met look
exactly the same. I remember the shape of the trees there that night
even. The scene that night when we met looks very much identical as
seen in the newly released Mladic home videos.

I wonder if Mladic did not have any security when he met me because Darko had
brought me in the Topcider military barracks to meet Mladic that night;
I believe he did. I would not have known the difference since it seemed
merely a beautiful park.
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Darko and Bojana were walking ahead towards the car leaving me and
Mladic alone. Knowing, I’d continue crying, I broke our embrace saying
“goodbye.” Mladic promised to visit me the next day dressed in his
full military uniform before I left Serbia. I didn’t want to part; but
I did. I saw Darko and Bojana walking towards their car up the grassy
hill and followed. I walked briskly catching up with them; I was
exhausted and still had to finish packing back at Darko‘s apartment.
Once more I turned and saw Mladic drive away in an old brown Mercedes
Benz on its left front side. I was surprised to see it was scratched
and slightly dented. Arriving back at Darko’s place, I completed
preparations for departing the following day and fell fast asleep.

The next day I woke up around mid morning feeling depressed so I went
for a walk to a local store picking up some things. Returning to
Darko’s, we were standing outside his apartment discussing something
when I turned seeing Mladic approaching me in full military regalia.
We shook hands glad seeing each other. Of all photos I’ve seen online,
Mladic never looked better than he did then.

His military uniform was clean, ironed and he wore every military metal ever earned
it seemed to me. He was as honorably decorated as any of the American
Joint Chief’s of Staff; even wearing his gold colored in sigma upon his
green military cap. He had many gold colored metals hanging from his
uniform on the left side by his chest. I was privileged to see him
this way; I confess being impressed.

I was surprised to say the very least. Darko said to stand next to Mladic insisting on
snapping some photos of the two of us. Mladic placed his arm around my
shoulder and I his; we both smiled as Darko snapped some photos. When
finished Mladic presented me with a gift. The book I posted online for
you all to view, signing it to me under the alias name, Sharko thanking
me for beautiful times spent together in Beograd. We embraced and he
left as Darko interjected saying we had to hurry to the airport before
I miss my flight.
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Darko’s German friend delivered me back to Beograd airport the same
manner as picked up. There was little time, my flight was actually
locking the gate and about to depart without me. Darko ran up to
someone important showing his governmental badge as I recall, asking
them to hold the flight until I board. There was hardly time for JAT
to weigh my luggage; they did however inform me it weighed over the
limit allowed. Darko said there was no time to be picky about what I
was bringing back to the States ; I obeyed leaving one full suitcase
behind with him as to not miss my flight. Quickly helped me through
customs and the gate, I tried prolonging our goodbye. Darko didn’t
want seeing him cry and urged me on as the Serbian flight attendant
waved me to hurry. The gate was closed up and I had to run with my
carry on to board the plane. One last time I turned briefly to see
Darko; he tried hiding the tears swelling in his eyes as I.
I took my seat on the JAT flight back home to America. Upon reaching JFK
my luggage was lost and it was delivered over the weekend to my home in
Bloomingdale New Jersey. This is what it’s like to chill with the most
ruthless men in the world. No biggie really.

THE END

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Tags: criminality, icty, jill, karadzic, mladic, radovan, ratko, serbia, starr

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