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'Tuta' Unfit for Transfer

Bosnian Croat Mladen "Tuta" Naletilic, accused of crimes against Bosniaks in Mostar, ruled unfit for transfer to The Hague following heart surgery last month.

The transfer to The Hague of Mladen "Tuta" Naletilic - accused of crimes against Bosniaks in the Mostar area - has been delayed again following a new medical report.

According to the report, any transfer to The Hague would place Naletelic's life in danger. He underwent heart surgery last month.

The Office of the Prosecutor accepted the assessment in broad terms, but OTP spokesman, Paul Risley, said the prosecutor still wants an independent medical team to "explore different methods of maintaining Tuta's health and of transferring him, perhaps, to a Dutch medical facility "

Risley added, it is "likely that the prosecutor will ask the Registry to dispatch its medical team to Zagreb."

Meanwhile, the first small steps have been made in towards improving co-operation between the Tribunal and the new Croatian government.

The Croatian ambassador in the Netherlands, Jaksa Muljacic, visited senior officials at the Tribunal to express a renewed commitment by the Croatian government to co-operate. The meeting represented the highest level contact between the Croat authorities and the Tribunal since the parliamentary and presidential elections.

Risley said that during his meeting with Deputy Prosecutor Graham Blewitt, the ambassador said spring had arrived in Croatia, which heralded a new and close relationship with the ICTY. Blewitt had welcomed Muljacic's comments but noted that the Tribunal was waiting for concrete and positive action by Croatia.

An agreement formalising the status of an OTP liaison office in Zagreb was signed last week. A move Risley described as a "small but important step". The OTP had been requesting such a contract for two years.