Serbia 'holds the key' to arrest war crimes fugitives: UN

A U.N. prosecutor demanded that Serbia take a more proactive approach to arrest two remaining war crimes fugitives from the Balkan wars.

Serbia 'holds the key' to arrest war crimes fugitives: UN

A U.N. prosecutor demanded on Monday that Serbia take a more proactive approach to arrest two remaining war crimes fugitives from the Balkan wars -- a key condition for Belgrade's eventual EU membership.

Serge Brammertz told the U.N. Security Council that Serbia's failure to arrest Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic "is one of our foremost concerns."

"Time is passing and we are not seeing results," said Brammertz, chief U.N. prosecutor for war crimes committed in the conflicts that raged after Yugoslavia disintegrated in the early 1990s.

The Hague-based U.N. court has indicted Mladic, a former Bosnian Serb military commander, for genocide in the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica and the 1992-95 siege of Sarajevo.

Hadzic, who led a Serb enclave in Croatia, is wanted for his alleged role in the killing of Croatian civilians. Both he and Mladic are widely thought to be hiding in Serbia.

"Serbia must bridge the gap between its stated commitment to the arrests and the effectiveness of its operation on the ground," Brammertz told the Security Council in a six-monthly report on the tribunal.

While Serbia was working to implement recommendations by the tribunal on the hunt for the fugitives, "there is still much left to be done and the progress must be faster," Brammertz said. "Overall Serbia needs to adopt a more proactive approach to arresting the fugitives."

In addition to hunting for Mladic and Hadzic, Belgrade should take "a rigorous approach" to dealing with individuals and networks supporting the fugitives, the prosecutor said.

"The Serbian authorities must clearly signal that those who harbor the fugitives will be punished," Brammertz said, adding that Serbia "holds the key" to arresting the two men.

Investigators believe he is likely to be hiding in or around Belgrade.

In his address to the council, Brammertz said the international community also had a role to play in prodding Serbia to make a greater effort to arrest Mladic and Hadzic.

"With your assistance and the effective implementation of conditionality policies, positive incentives can be given to Serbia to precipitate the arrests," he said without elaborating.



Agencies

Last Mod: 07 Aralık 2010, 12:22
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