Russia calls for 'impartial' Mladic trial

27th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia called Friday for an impartial trial of Bosnian war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic and expressed concern the process may be used for launching more probes into its Serbian ally.

"We expect the upcoming trial of Ratko Mladic to be fair and impartial," a foreign ministry spokesman told Russian news agencies.

"We also expect the trial not be used (for) protracting the work of the ICTY," the official said in reference to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Russia views Serbia as a historic ally and was Belgrade'a most important ally during both the war in Bosnia and the 1999 campaign in Kosovo.

Moscow is also currently backing Serbia's efforts to win a UN Security Council mandate for an international probe into alleged Kosovo organ trafficking.

The foreign ministry's comments were preceded by a scathing attack on NATO by Russia's representative to the Atlantic Alliance in which he called for court hearings into alleged crimes committed by the West in the region.

"Serbia will not feel his guilt until... it sees that members of the international community who shot at peaceful civilians are punished," Dmitry Rogozin told Moscow Echo radio on Thursday.

The outspoken representative to NATO argued that both sides in the Bosnian war had committed crimes but only one was getting punished.

"Responsibility rests not only with the Bosnian (Muslim) leadership, but also with those who enticed them into action, who stood behind their backs. We should be talking about the responsibility of NATO generals."

Europe's most-wanted man was arrested on Thursday in a village in northern Serbia ended a 16-year manhunt. He faces charges of genocide as well as crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The indictment also cites the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre in which 8,000 Muslim men and boys were rounded up and massacred.

© 2011 AFP

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