Prosecutor steps up pressure for arrest of Serbia's Mladic
A failure to arrest Bosnian Serb genocide suspect Ratko Mladic would be "exceptionally negative" for post-war reconciliation in the ex Yugoslavia, the war crimes prosecutor said Wednesday.
Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), repeated his calls for Serbia to do more to find Mladic, on the run since a warrant was issued for his arrest in 1995.
"A non-arrest could have an exceptionally negative impact on possible reconciliation in the region," Brammertz told Dutch MPs in The Hague.
Only a "limited number of people" were involved in the search for the fugitive in Serbia, he told a European affairs parliament committee. "We think that the means (to investigate) must be increased."
Mladic, the ICTY's most wanted fugitive, is accused of masterminding the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that left 10,000 people dead in 1995 and the July massacre that year of around 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica.
He faces charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
"We do not doubt that a number of people with political responsibility are pushing hard for the arrests" of Mladic and Goran Hadzic, the wartime president of the self-proclaimed Serb republic of Krajina, said Brammertz.
"But it is also clear that there are people who see it differently. It is quite clear that there is still a so-called support network."
"We see that people are busy but more can be done," he said.
Since its creation in 1993, the ICTY has indicted 161 people, including former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, who died in detention in 2006 at The Hague, and Radovan Karadzic, former Bosnian Serb political chief, whose trial is still under way.
Brammertz referred to a "worst case scenario" of Mladic and Hadzic still on the run by the time the last case before the ICTY concludes. All trials are expected to finish 2012 and appeals by 2013.
If the two had not been arrested by then, a "residual mechanism, a sort of dormant, mini-ICTY" will be set up "that can be activated the day that the fugitives are arrested," the prosecutor said.
© 2010 AFP