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UN War Crimes Prosecutor Demands Serbia's Cooperation in Bringing Suspects to Justice


The outgoing U.N. war crimes prosecutor for the former Yugoslavia has accused Serbia of deliberately failing to arrest two top suspects and called on the European Union to deny Belgrade EU membership until it complies. Victoria Cavaliere reports for VOA's New York Bureau.

Carla Del Ponte told the U.N. Security Council Monday the international community must put more pressure on Serbia to find and arrest two key fugitives, Bosnian Serb wartime political leader Radovan Karadzic and former military chief, General Ratko Mladic.

Mladic and Karadzic are both charged by the tribunal with war crimes, including the genocide of Bosnian Muslims during the 1992 to 1995 Bosnian war, that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia.

At a news conference Monday, Del Ponte said she is leaving her post after eight years with unfinished business.

"It is a great disappointment. Even if today the members of the Security Council look at what we have done and it's true, 91 accused and transferred to the Hague is for sure important. But after [Slobodan] Milosevic, the most responsible for the crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia were Karadzic and Mladic," she said.

The U.N. Security Council set up the International Criminal Tribunal in 1993 to deal with widespread atrocities of the Balkan wars. Del Ponte said Council should keep the tribunal running until Mladic and Karadzic are arrested and tried.

'The Council should not close the door without having Karadzic and Mladic. So, it is now in the hands of the Security Council whether this tribunal will be a success in applying international justice, or not," she said.

Del Ponte says she believes Mladic would be delivered to justice only if the European Union made his arrest a condition for Serbia's accession.

Del Ponte will leave the tribunal at the end of December. She will be replaced by Serge Brammertz of Belgium.

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