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BREAKING NEWS ~ Serb war crimes fugitive Mladic arrested: report

[JURIST] Reuters is reporting that top Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; BBC profile] has been arrested, according to Serbian news sources. Mladic's arrest has not been officially confirmed.

The former general has been charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] with genocide for the execution of over 7,000 Muslim prisoners, and for the shelling and sniping of innocent civilians during the siege of Sarajevo. Reports surfaced in December that Mladic was discussing his surrender [JURIST report] with the war crimes court. ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte has repeatedly called on the EU to suspend membership talks [JURIST report] with Serbia unless Mladic was turned over to the court. Reuters has more.

12:43 PM ET - Official Serbian news agency Tanjug [media website] has quoted a local television report that Mladic has been taken into custody in Belgrade and will be transferred to the ICTY. According to other reports from Serbian newspaper Blic [media website], Mladic will be turned over to the ICTY within 10 days [Makfax report]. An ICTY spokesperson has said that the ICTY is aware that a Belgrade prosecutor has information on Mladic's whereabouts and that Mladic "could be transferred to Hague in short time." Also Tuesday, Democratic Party of Serbia Deputy President Vladeta Jankovic said that Mladic will "very shortly" face justice [B92 report], noting that Mladic's fugitive status has been a "huge obstacle" in Serbia's integration with Europe. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn is scheduled to report on Serbia's cooperation with the ICTY at the end of the month. Reuters has more.

1:13 PM ET - AP now reports that a top Serbian security official has said that Mladic has been located and that authorities are working to negotiate his surrender.

1:55 PM ET - A spokesperson for the Serbian government has denied reports that Mladic has been arrested. Reuters has more.

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