[JURIST] Carla del Ponte [official profile], chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website], said Wednesday that Serbian government officials had told her that war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; BBC profile] has not been arrested. Serbian media reported Tuesday that the former general had been arrested [JURIST report], but the Serbian government quickly denied the reports [JURIST report], dismissing them as "manipulation." In a statement Wednesday, del Ponte said:
The false rumors spread yesterday from Belgrade about the arrest of Mladic have absolutely no basis whatsoever. There is no indication at all that negotiations about his surrender are currently being conducted. I was in contact with the authorities in Belgrade yesterday and I was assured that these is no truth in all this. Mladic remains at large.Mladic has been indicted [text] by the ICTY on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes stemming from the execution of over 7,000 Muslim prisoners and the shelling and sniping of innocent civilians during the siege of Sarajevo. Del Ponte has repeatedly called for the capture of Mladic and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case backgrounder], and has said the EU should make Serbian cooperation with ICTY in hunting down the two fugitives a factor in its decision whether to expand EU membership to Serbia. Reuters has more.