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Serbia needs 'more proactive approach' to hunting Mladic

A United Nations prosecutor demanded that Serbia take a "more proactive approach" to arrest two war crimes fugitives from the Balkan wars – Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic.

Ratko Mladic

Ratko Mladic is thought to be in hiding around Belgrade

The chief UN prosecutor for the former Yugoslavia on Monday accused Serbia of not acting aggressively to arrest two key fugitives – Bosnian Serb wartime chief Ratko Mladic and former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic.

Serge Brammertz told the UN Security Council that Serbia holds "the key" to their arrest.

He urged the Serbian government to adopt a "more proactive approach" that covers all angles. This would include targeting individuals and networks that support Mladic and Hadzic and making clear all those who harbor the fugitives will be punished.

"Time is passing and we are not seeing results," said Brammertz.

Improving the search for the fugitives

The UN tribunal headquarters in the Hague has indicted Mladic for genocide in the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica and the 1992-95 siege of Sarajevo.

Hadzic, who led a Serb enclave in Croatia, is wanted for his alleged role in the killing of Croatian civilians. Both he and Mladic are thought to be hiding in Serbia.

The European Union has made it clear to Belgrade that if Serbia wishes to join the bloc, it needs to fully cooperate with the UN tribunal and bring the two fugitives to justice.

Although Serbia claims it is committed to arresting the duo, Brammertz said it must “bridge the gap” between this statement and the "effectiveness of operations on the ground."

Brammertz said the international community also had a role to play in convincing Serbia to make a greater effort in arresting Mladic and Hadzic by providing "positive incentives."

Author: Catherine Bolsover (Reuters/AP)
Editor: Rob Turner

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