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War Crimes Prosecutor Criticizes EU Response to ICJ Serbia Ruling


The chief prosecutor of the United Nations war crimes tribunal has criticized the European Union's response to last month's International Court of Justice ruling on Serbia's role in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s.

Carla del Ponte termed the response muted and expressed concern that it could undermine efforts for international justice.

The international court did not hold Serbia directly responsible for the massacre of about eight thousand Muslim men and boys after Serb forces captured Srebrenica in 1995 but said it failed to use its influence to prevent the deaths.

Del Ponte criticized EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana for applauding the court's decision not to impose collective punishment on Serbia. She noted that he failed to mention that the judges found Serbia guilty of violating the United Nations Genocide Convention.

She also expressed concern that two leading fugitive war crimes suspects, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his top military commander Ratko Mladic, might never face justice. She noted that the U.N. war crimes tribunal is set to finish its work by the end of 2010.

The Hague court indicted the two men in 1995 on charges involving their roles in attacks on civilians during the Bosnian conflict.

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