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Del Ponte Asks NATO to be 'More Aggressive'

The Tribunal Chief Prosecutor meets NATO chiefs and pushes for a more aggressive pursuit of indicted war criminals.

In addition to visiting the EC, Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte also visited NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) headquarters in Brussels last week.

During talks with NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson and the permanent representatives of the 19 member states, Del Ponte urged NATO to be more aggressive in hunting down and arresting indictees, in particular "the most wanted Radovan Karadzic", the former leader of the Bosnian Serbs.

"He is the symbol of this year, the fugitive who has been longest on the loose," Del Ponte said before adding that capturing him is "crucial for a stable peace."

Addressing journalists after the meeting Del Ponte, Robertson said NATO's commitment to apprehending all those indicted of war crimes in Yugoslavia was "beyond question."

Robertson returned to the same question two days later when talking to journalists at NATO headquarters.

Talking about his and NATO's priorities for the year 2000, Robertson said it was essential that those indicted but still at large be brought to The Hague for trial and concluded: "I have got a personal commitment to making sure that they do."

British commandos, as members of SFOR, have carried out as many as 90% of operations aimed at arresting people accused of war crimes. These operations only really got underway after Robertson became British Secretary of Defence in 1997. Karadzic and other accused still at large should not, therefore, brush away or underestimate such "personal commitment" from the NATO Secretary General.

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