Prosecutor pressures Serbia on fugitives
( AP ) - A U.N. war crimes prosecutor insisted Monday on the arrest of four long-sought fugitives whose success at eluding capture has become the biggest single obstacle to Serbia building closer ties with the European Union.
Carla Del Ponte was on her last visit to Belgrade before her mandate as chief prosecutor for the U.N.'s Yugoslav tribunal expires at the end of this year. Her final report on how much Serbia has cooperated with the tribunal is due at the U.N. on Dec. 10.Her findings could determine whether the EU will restart talks with Belgrade on pre-membership deals. The central precondition is the arrest of Europe's most wanted war crimes fugitives, including former Bosnian Serb military commander Gen. Ratko Mladic and wartime Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic.
"The chief prosecutor said the main open issue regarding Serb cooperation with the tribunal was the arrest of the remaining fugitives," said Rasim Ljajic, Serbia's minister in charge of cooperation with the U.N. tribunal, after meeting with Del Ponte. " Serbia must prove that is ready to hand over the fugitives."
The tribunal based in The Hague, Netherlands, has charged Karadzic and Mladic with genocide and crimes against humanity. They are accused of orchestrating the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim boys and men from Srebrenica and the siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo - the worst carnage in Europe since World War II.