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Serb Group Sends Prosecutor Death Threats

A United States-based nationalist Serb group this week sent death threats to Serbia’s top war crimes prosecutor.
Vladimir Vukcevic, head of the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor in Belgrade, was told in a letter that he would get “a bullet in his head” for trying to capture former Bosnian Serb leaders Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.

“Our whole judicial system is under political pressure because this is a post conflict period, after wars in Kosovo and in Bosnia and Croatia. Our job is to bring to justice people who we think are guilty,” Vukcevic’s spokesperson, Jasna Sarcevic–Jankovic told IWPR.

“Other prosecutors have received threats, either physical or verbal ones.”

This latest threat is a direct response to Vukcevic’s offer of a million-euro reward for information leading to the fugitives’ arrest.

The two men are charged with orchestrating the genocide in Srebrenica where 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed in 1995. The European Union has made their arrest a condition of any movement towards Serbia joining the union.

The letter, which was signed by ten individuals, said that Vukcevic was “not patriotic” and was working “against Serbian interests”.

“Mladic and Karadzic are the best people Serbia has ever had and history will confirm that,” it read.

Enclosed with the letter, which was sent from the city of Evanston in Illinois, was a photograph of Vukcevic with the Nazi swastika emblem drawn across his face.

The threat comes at a pivotal time in Serbia, where a second round of presidential elections is due next week.

Serbs still remember the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djinjic in 2003, as well as death threats against the president of the judicial chamber Judge Nata Masarevic.

The Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor is investigating the threats and has informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.

Simon Jennings is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.

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