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Del Ponte: International Community Losing Interest in Hague Tribunal Efforts


The chief prosecutor of the United Nations war crimes tribunal has criticized the international community for moving toward expanded ties with Serbia despite its failure to bring fugitive suspects to justice.

Carla del Ponte reminded reporters that The Hague war crimes tribunal must end its activities by 2010 and said she believes the international community is losing interest in helping the court complete its work. The prosecutor spoke in Brussels after talks with Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht.

She was referring to Monday's statement by European Union foreign ministers offering to resume talks on closer ties with Serbia if that country's leaders take effective action to help war crimes prosecutors. But they did not renew EU demands that Serbia first arrest and extradite fugitive Bosnian Serb commander and war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic.

The EU-Serbia talks were suspended last year, after EU and United Nations authorities said Belgrade is not fully cooperating with prosecutors in the hunt for war crimes fugitives thought to be hiding in Serbia.

The Hague Tribunal indicted Mladic in 1995 for his role in attacks on civilians during the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.