Eu/western Balkans : Icty Prosecutor Gives Thumbs Down to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia

Europe-East, January 29, 2009 | Go to article overview

Eu/western Balkans : Icty Prosecutor Gives Thumbs Down to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia


The level of cooperation of the three Western Balkan countries - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia - with theaInternational Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is still not satisfactory, the tribunal's Chief Prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, has told the European Parliament. Reporting on the issue to Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), on 26 January, Brammertz welcomed progress achieved by all three countries in cooperation last year, but stressed that each of them still needs to take certain steps to adequately address remaining shortcomings.

SERBIA

Beginning his evaluation with Serbia, Brammertz reiterated that the arrest of the two remaining fugitives, Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic, a political leader of the Serb entity in Croatia, is the main requirement for Belgrade and one of the top priorities for the tribunal to complete its mandate. Going into detail, he suggested that the two fugitives are hiding on Serbian soil. "On the basis of information received from Serbia we have no reason to believe that they [Mladic and Hadzic] are not in Serbia," Brammertz said, adding that despite the tribunal's continuous calls for their arrest, war criminals still enjoy considerable support in Serbia. "The arrest [of Mladic and Hadzic] is the absolute highest priority and the reality is in fact that a very limited group of people are entrusted with arresting the fugitives, while a significant number help to hide them," he said. Referring to Serbia's EU aspirations, Brammertz expressed hope that there would be 'positive developments'' between now and his next regular report on Serbia, due in June, allowing the integration process to move forward. He warned that if there was no progress, he would not hesitate to mention it in his report.

Based on the conclusions of the ICTY's report on Serbia's cooperation, the EU is set either to sustain or lift its blockade on the ratification of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) - the gateway to EU membership.

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