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Del Ponte Marks Grim Anniversary

Chief prosecutor renews call for arrest of Karadzic and Mladic, twelve years after indictments against them were issued.
By Merdijana Sadović
Tribunal chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte this week declared that the failure to apprehend Bosnian Serb political and military leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic will not only cast a “permanent shadow” on this tribunal but also “the international community as a whole”.

She was speaking on July 25, exactly 12 years after the two were indicted by the Hague court.

“Mladic and Karadzic are charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war, the worst crimes known to humanity and the worst crimes committed in Europe since World War II,” said Del Ponte. “And, after 12 years, they are still at large.”

She said in a statement that the fact that two of the most notorious war crimes indictees are still able to evade justice is “simply unacceptable”.

“This is why, on this grim anniversary, I would like to take the opportunity to again call upon Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina - especially the entity of Republika Srpska - and Montenegro to do everything they can to locate and arrest Ratko Mladic, Radovan Karadzic and the remaining fugitives,” said Del Ponte.

She also called on the international community to increase their support for the tribunal. “Without it, we would not be able to do our important work. Without it, there would be impunity,” she said.

“We must remain strong and vigilant in our pursuit because this is what we owe to the thousands upon thousands of those who perished at the hands of Karadzic, Mladic and their subordinates.”

The same day as Del Ponte’s statement, the head of Serbia’s National Council for Co-operation with the Hague tribunal Rasim Ljajic told Belgarde television B92 that the Serbian authorities “have been actively searching for Mladic day in day out”, and that they are determined to bring all Hague indictees to justice by the end of this year.

“If that does not happen, we will have a major problem: our European perspective will be brought into question and Serbian citizens will have to face both political and economic consequences of the fact that Hague fugitives are still at large,” said Ljajic.

Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR’s Hague programme manager.

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