UN PROSECUTOR, SERBIA NOT DOING ENOUGH TO ARREST GEN. RATKO MLADIC
Associated Press reported today that the chief prosecutor for the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, Serge Brammertz, said that "Serbia is still not doing all it can do to arrest key Bosnian war fugitive Gen. Ratko Mladic and the European Union must keep the pressure on Belgrade to hunt him down."
General Ratko Mladic is indicted on charges of committing Bosnian Genocide. His arrest and trial could put an end any doubts about the legal character of the Bosnian war, which - according to Bosniaks and Croats - constituted genocide against the Bosnian Muslim population in Srebrenica, Prijedor, Bratunac, Bijeljina, Vlasenica, Foca, and a number of other B&H municipalities.
Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) destroyed hundreds of Bosnian Muslim hamlets and villages around Srebrenica in the first months of war, three years before the Srebrenica genocide. Not even one of them stood trial for these crimes. Between 1992-95, war criminals from heavily militarized Serb villages around Srebrenica raided, plundered, torched and destroyed hundreds of Bosniak villages around Srebrenica, often committing unspeakable crimes.
"The non-arrest of Mladic would be the worst signal you could give to all future tribunals. It would somehow give the signal to perpetrators that you can sit out international justice; that political interest is diminishing over time and that at the end of the day impunity prevails," Brammertz told reporters. He also noted that the tribunal cannot wait indefinitely for Mladic to be arrested, as the U.N. Security Council is pushing it to complete all its cases and shut its doors for good.
"We have no time. This tribunal is closing down in three years," he said. "We need the arrests now in order to be able to have a trial which represents the magnitude of the crimes committed. More has to be done. More resources, more professionalism in order to have the fugitives arrested."
AFP reported today that Brammertz warned the situation was far from perfect and urged the ICTY to bridge a "gap between the political discourse, what's (happening) on the ground and what needs to be done to be efficient."
Mladic's wartime superior, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, is currently on trial in The Hague on charges of Bosnian Genocide and crimes against humanity.
B92 reported today that Brammertz complained that "situation is far from perfect" and called on Belgrade to try harder to locate and arrest indicted war criminals, "Regarding the search for the fugitives, we’re not pleased and it is necessary to do more."
He added that he had expressed 'serious concern' over weaknesses in the investigation in his last report to the UN Security Council last June and that problems were 'rhythm and extension of the investigation, techniques that are implemented.'
'We are not completely satisfied that our recommendations have been implemented… But our talks are under way,' the chief prosecutor said. He explained that there is a discrepancy between the expressed political readiness in Serbia to arrest the fugitives, about the course of the search itself and 'what must be done' so it would be successful. 'This gap must be bridged', Brammertz pointed out."
Retuers reported today that "Also in The Hague, the world's first permanent war crimes court, the International Criminal Court, is facing problems of its own as African Union states defy an arrest warrant for Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, also indicted for war crimes."