Source AP ©

U.N. war crimes prosecutor praises Serbia for recent arrest of key fugitive

The U.N. war crimes prosecutor for former Yugoslavia praised Serbia for the recent arrest of a key fugitive, but insisted on the capture of the most wanted suspect, Gen. Ratko Mladic.

Carla Del Ponte said last week's arrest of wartime Bosnian Serb Gen. Zdravko Tolimir, a close Mladic's aide, and his extradition to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, represented "positive progress."

"But, we need other steps, other fugitives," Del Ponte said after meeting Serbian President Boris Tadic. "I want the results now."

Mladic, a wartime Bosnian Serb army commander, has been indicted on genocide charges for his role in the 1995 massacre of more than 7,000 Muslims in Srebrenica the worst single atrocity in Europe since World War II.

Tadic said Serbia's new pro-democracy government was determined to fully cooperate with The Hague tribunal.

The European Union suspended pre-membership talks with Serbia last year, after Belgrade failed to meet two deadlines for Mladic's extradition. EU officials recently have suggested that negotiations could resume even if Mladic is not immediately caught.

Del Ponte has insisted that Mladic is hiding in Serbia under protection from the nationalist hard-liners. Serbian leaders in the past have said they could not find the general.

Serbia's newly formed government has pledged fresh resolve to hunt down Mladic and other four Serb fugitives still at large.

Del Ponte said she would issue a report in a few weeks detailing Serbia's cooperative steps and areas where more needed to be done.

Comments