The family of Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic filed a motion in a Serbian court Wednesday to have him officially declared dead.
The family's lawyer, Milos Saljic, said the family decided to take the step because General Mladic has not been seen in seven years. The family also said Mladic was seriously ill at the time he disappeared, 15 years ago.
Mladic commanded Bosnian Serb forces during the Balkan ethnic conflict of the 1990s. The United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague has indicted him for genocide in connection with the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica. He is also accused of orchestrating the siege of Bosnia-Herzegovina's capital Sarajevo.
Serbia's failure to arrest Mladic has been the single biggest obstacle to closer ties between the country and the European Union.
Serbian officials say authorities will continue to search for Mladic, regardless of the family's motion.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.