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Serbia asks ICTY prosecutor for patience on eve of EU report

[JURIST] Serbian officials Wednesday asked Carla del Ponte [official profile], chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [official website] to bear in mind the country's "complex political situation" as she arrived in Belgrade for talks two days before issuing a report to the European Union on the country's co-operation with the court. In the wake of the death of Slobodan Milosevic earlier this month del Ponte renewed her call for the handover of other fugitives, including Ratko Mladic [BBC profile, JURIST news archive], the Bosnian Serb wartime commander charged with genocide. EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn [JURIST news archive] has joined del Ponte in calling [JURIST report] for Mladic's arrest and has urged he be sent to The Hague before the next round of EU membership talks, scheduled for April 5.

Serbia, however, says that internal destabilization would result from the EU cutting off negotiations, especially in a political environment inflamed by Milosevic's death, the prospect of the formal separation of Kosovo at the end of UN-sponsored negotiations [JURIST report] this year, and the possibility of Montenegrin citizens voting to split from Serbia in a referendum scheduled for May [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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