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Oct 03, 2007 18:44 EEST
October 3 (SeeNews) - Serbia has made slow progress in its cooperation with the Hague war crimes tribunal and should take more effective steps towards arresting the remaining fugitives, top United Nations prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said on Wednesday.
"During my most recent visits to Belgrade, everyone I met, both on the political and on the operative level, assured me of Belgrade's commitment to full cooperation with the tribunal," Del Ponte said in a statement.
"However, although we have seen some results in the past four months, progress has been rather slow," she added.
Del Ponte reiterated that the four remaining war crime fugitives sought by the tribunal must be located and arrested.
The four include former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic and former political leader Radovan Karadzic. Mladic and Karadzic have been indicted on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Mladic is said to have ordered the murder of some 8,000 Muslim boys and men in 1995 near the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, believed to be the biggest massacre in Europe committed since World War II.
"Any further delay in fulfilling these obligations jeopardises the successful completion of the tribunal's work and interferes with the tribunal's ability to fulfill its mandate," Del Ponte said.
The Hague tribunal faces an end-2008 deadline to close war crime cases on former Yugoslavia.
Serbia has shown an absolute determination to provide the Hague tribunal will all it requires, Rasim Ljajic, head of Serbia's council for cooperation with the Hague tribunal, told SeeNews.
Cooperation with the U.N. tribunal is a key condition on Serbia's EU membership path.
In June,the EU restarted talks with Serbia on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) after two of the most wanted fugitives from the confllict in the former Yugoslavia, General Zdravko Tolimir and Serbian police general Vlastimir Djordjevic, were arrested. Serbia hopes to sign an SAA with the EU by the end of 2007 and attain candidate status for the bloc by the end of next year.
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