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Serbian Police Search Military Facilities for War Crimes Suspects


Serbian special police have searched military facilities outside Belgrade for fugitive suspects as authorities prepare for Thursday's visit by the chief United Nations war crimes prosecutor.

The top Serbian official coordinating ties with the U.N. war crimes tribunal announced the raids Wednesday. The tribunal's chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, will be in the Serbian capital for an assessment of the country's cooperation with The Hague-based court. She will then brief European Union authorities on the situation.

The prosecutor, last week called Serbia's cooperation with the court too slow and insufficient. In response, the European Union put off the signing of an agreement on building ties with Serbia.

The prosecutor said she could not issue a positive assessment until fugitive war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic, the former commander of Serb forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina, is arrested and transferred to the Hague-based tribunal.

Del Ponte said she is convinced the Serbian government has the means and resources to arrest and extradite remaining war crimes suspects.

The tribunal indicted Mladic, the former top Serb commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina on genocide charges for his role in attacks on civilians, including the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims following the fall of Srebrenica.

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