Yugoslavia Told to Arrest Fugitives
Oct. 21, 2002
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BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Angry at Yugoslavia's failure to cooperate fully with the U.N. war crimes tribunal, the chief prosecutor warned Belgrade on Monday she will take the issue to the U.N. Security Council.
Carla Del Ponte met with Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic and Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic to demand anew the arrest of former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic and other fugitives allegedly hiding in Yugoslavia.
``I am very disappointed about the cooperation of Belgrade. We have some cooperation but there remain many obstacles,'' Del Ponte said. ``We have so many fugitives who are under arrest warrants but who have not been arrested.''
Del Ponte often has criticized Belgrade and demanded more international pressure to ensure that Mladic _ one of the tribunal's most-wanted fugitives _ is handed over.
Although she repeatedly has claimed that Mladic is in Serbia, Yugoslavia's dominant republic, and is under army protection, authorities have flatly denied that.
``I don't know where Mladic is today, at this moment. But I had information in July on his whereabouts and I gave all this information to the interior minister of Serbia,'' Del Ponte said. There was no response, she said.
``No one at the Justice Ministry has any proof that this person (Mladic) is here,'' said Nebojsa Sarkic, a ministry adviser.
Del Ponte said the matter would be raised next week with the Security Council, which has the authority to punish Yugoslavia for refusing to cooperate.
``We will present a formal complaint against Yugoslavia in not cooperating with the U.N. tribunal,'' she said.
Echoing her concerns, European Union foreign ministers meeting Monday in Luxembourg ``reaffirmed that co-operation with the tribunal is an obligation for all countries and parties of the region, regardless of their domestic laws.''
``Failure to cooperate fully ... would seriously jeopardize further movement toward the European Union,'' the ministers warned.
Also high on Del Ponte's list of grievances against Belgrade was the lack of access to Yugoslav state archives and documents vital to the tribunal based in The Hague, Netherlands.
After meeting with Svilanovic, Del Ponte told reporters she had brought two freshly unsealed indictments against war crimes suspects whose identities she refused to disclose.
The names of the two _ both wanted on charges stemming from the massacre of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, Bosnia _ were to be revealed later Monday in The Hague, she said.
Mladic was indicted for war crimes and genocide for ordering and carrying out the slaughter at Srebrenica as well as the siege of Sarajevo during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.
Along with Mladic, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is another top fugitive. Karadzic is believed to live underground in the Serb-controlled half of Bosnia.
Tribunal prosecutors increased pressure for Mladic's arrest after Yugoslavia extradited its former president, Slobodan Milosevic, in 2001. Milosevic is now on trial for war crimes and genocide committed during the wars that followed the breakup of former Yugoslavia.
Svilanovic acknowledged that despite the voluntary surrender to the tribunal of eight Serbs this spring, and his government exempting several witnesses from keeping state secrets when testifying before the U.N. court, more must be done.
``Our government will have to take steps and amend the law on cooperation with the tribunal, change it if that is what it takes to remove obstacles to better cooperation,'' he said. ``The Hague tribunal is part of our past that we must face.''