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Dec 11, 2007 11:34 EEST
December 11 (SeeNews) - The outgoing chief prosecutor of The Hague war crimes tribunal, Carla Del Ponte, urged the European Union to make Serbia’s full cooperation with the tribunal a must condition in the country's effort to build closer ties with the bloc.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) said in a statement released late on Monday that Carla Del Ponte insisted in her farewell report to the U.N. Security Council “on Serbia’s full cooperation with the International Tribunal as a condition in the EU pre-accession and accession process and stressed that full cooperation signified the arrest and transfer of Ratko Mladic.”
“She also said that the EU conditionality has in recent years been the most effective tool to obtain the transfer of ICTY fugitives and expressed her conviction that the arrest of the remaining four fugitives will only be achieved if this policy is upheld,” the statement added.
The Balkan country and the 27-nation bloc initialed on November 8 a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), the first step towards eventual membership, but the signing of the accord remains conditional upon Serbia’s co-operation with The Hague tribunal, which has in the past been found lacking.
Carla Del Ponte Del Ponte has repeatedly said that the four war crime fugitives remaining at large and sought by the tribunal must be located and arrested. They include Mladic and former Bosnian Serb 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.
The fact that Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic “are still fugitives is a stain on the International Tribunal’s work and undermines the very idea of international justice,” the ICTY statement quoted Carla Del Ponte as saying.
Carla Del Ponte is due to leave her position as chief prosecutor at The Hague tribunal, which faces an end-2008 deadline to close war crime cases on former Yugoslavia.
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