Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/serbia : Belgrade Presents War Crimes Action Plan

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/serbia : Belgrade Presents War Crimes Action Plan

Article excerpt

Serbia's Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica presented the EU with a war crimes action plan late on 17 July in Brussels, designed to achieve full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and pave the way for the resumption of stalled Euro-integration talks with the EU. The bloc recently put negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia on hold because of its lack of cooperation with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

After the 17 July meeting, EU representatives welcomed in particular the commitment said to be contained in the new three-page action plan to arrest key fugitive Ratko Mladic, the wanted former Bosnian Serb commander. Observers said this seemed to mark a shift in rhetoric away from a previous emphasis on "voluntary surrender" of war crimes indictees. But the document is still to be followed up by what was described as a "detailed operational plan", and the EU side stressed the importance of actual implementation. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn repeated the mantra that "action" was more important than "plan".

Though results are still to be delivered, the plan at least promises to create a fresh dynamic that could eventually see the SAA talks resumed - full cooperation with ICTY leading to the arrest of Mladic being the stated condition. Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja described the plan as a "good basis for further work". EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana said he was "pretty sure it is going to be a successful document". …

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