UN war crimes court wants Mladic's speedy transfer
The UN war crimes court which sought Ratko Mladic for more than 16 years as one of its most wanted fugitives said Thursday it was looking forward to his speedy transfer from Serbia following his arrest.
"The Tribunal looks forward to his expeditious transfer from Serbia to The Hague," the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) said in a statement.
"The Tribunal welcomes the announcement of Mladic's arrest," it said, adding that "Mladic will be detained pending his initial appearance before a judge."
Once in The Hague, the ICTY said the former Serbian general would be allowed to enter a plea on the 15 charges against him which included war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
"Although charged with grave crimes, Mladic, like all other accused before the Tribunal, is presumed innocent until proven guilty," the ICTY added.
Mladic was arrested in Serbia on Thursday after being on the run from the court for more than 16 years.
Serbia's deputy war crimes prosecutor Bruno Vekaric said it could take up to seven days to complete the procedure to extradite Mladic to The Hague.
He still had to undergo a number of procedures before a Serbian court as well as a medical check-up before a court could decide on his extradition.
Finally the Serbian court will issue a decision on extradition, but that could be appealed, making the process even longer.
The ICTY called Mladic's arrest a "milestone" in its history which brought it "closer to the successful completion of its mandate, with 160 out of 161 indicted persons now having been arrested."
"Goran Hadzic is the sole remaining fugitive and the Tribunal hopes he will be arrested in the very near future," it said, referring to the former head of a self-proclaimed Serb territory in Croatia.
Earlier the ICTY's chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz said, "With the arrest of Mladic, Serbia has fulfilled one of its international obligations."
"It is very important for the victims. When I learnt the news I thought right away of the victims and the necessity to bring those responsible to justice for reconciliation," he told AFP by telephone from Croatia.
© 2011 AFP