Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Waiting for Ratko Mladic

It is over ten years since Ratko Mladić was on 21 July, 1995, indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and numerous war crimes(including crimes relating to the alleged sniping campaign against civilians in Sarajevo). On 16 November 1995, the charges were expanded to include charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes for the attack on the UN-declared safe area of Srebrenica in July 1995. Mladić is also responsible for the taking of hostages amongst UN peace-keeping address personnel.

He is suspected to be hiding either in Seriba or the Republika Srbska, but more likely around the major area of Belgrade. Serbian government in late March promised to hand over Mladić by end of April. That has not occurred. Therefore today the European Union suspended its negotiations with the Serbian government.

Carla Del Ponte, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, confirmed the reluctance of cooperation of Serbian government in her address to the United Nations Security Council on 15 December 2005. She inter alia submitted the following:

“Until recently, there was no political will on either of these parties to go aggressively after Karadzic and Mladic. At the rhetorical level at least, this has changed now, and there are numerous statements by Serb and Bosnian Serb political and even religious leaders saying that Karadzic and Mladic must be brought to The Hague. These intentions at the top have, however, not necessarily filtered through all the layers of the institutions involved. To sum up this most crucial issue, my main partners in the hunt for Karadzic and Mladic are now the Governments of Serbia and Montenegro and the relevant authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The international community, through conditionality, is providing political incentives for the local authorities to arrest these indictees. On operational issues, however, the involvement of the international community has been minimal, at least over the past two years.

Serbia and Montenegro’s cooperation has, unfortunately, deteriorated in the past months. There is no serious, well-articulated action plan on the fugitives. Moreover, there is a lack of co-ordination between the State Union authorities and the two Republic’s Governments, and the rivalry between the involved agencies is palpable. The information passed to my Office is scarce and unconvincing. The Army of Serbia and Montenegro continues to hamper, both actively and passively, the co-operation of Serbia and Montenegro with the ICTY. Serbian civilian authorities admit today that the Army as an institution was protecting Ratko Mladic until as late as at least May 2002.”

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