Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Move to Declare Mladic Dead

By Katherine Boyle in The Hague (TU No 476, 10-Nov-06)
By IWPR
The arrest of Mladic is one of the last hurdles that Serbia must overcome in order to gain admittance to the European Union, and the Independent Association of Law University Students from Belgrade hopes that by initiating a legal process to proclaim his death they will be able to remove that barrier.



The 64-year-old Mladic, who is charged with holding a command position in a joint criminal enterprise to forcibly remove, persecute and murder non-Serbs in Bosnia during its 1992-95 war, has been on the run for over a decade now.



The students have submitted the proposal to the local authorities, claiming that according to Serbia’s extrajudicial process law, it is legally possible to declare the general dead.



They cite the length of time since Mladic disappeared and his serious health problems as indicators that he has likely passed away.



However, Article 57 of the extrajudicial process law lists several requirements that would have to be met before Mladic could be proclaimed dead, and the fugitive does not meet all of them.



Mladic would have to be at least 70-years-old and the students would need to prove that no information about Mladic has been available for the past five years.



There is evidence that Mladic was in contact with people who allegedly helped him hide from authorities in 2005.



ICTY prosecutor Carla del Ponte has also said she believes that Mladic is still at large in Serbia. In June 2006, she told the United Nations Security Council that Belgrade is responsible for the failure to arrest Mladic, and said that a lack of cooperation between civilian and military authorities has fed the problem.



Del Ponte described attempting to secure his arrest as a “difficult and frustrating process”.



Mladic was an active officer in the Army of Yugoslavia until May 2002, seven years after he was indicted by the tribunal.

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