[JURIST] Carla Del Ponte [official profile], chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website], on Monday called Serbia's continued failure to arrest war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST news archive] "inexcusable," saying he should be on trial with a group of seven Bosnian Serb military and paramilitary officers charged with massacring 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in 1995. Del Ponte's comments came during opening arguments in the trial, where the seven men face charges [indictment, PDF; ICTY case backgrounder] of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Del Ponte said that the seven were among those most responsible for the massacre, which she called the "final phase of a comprehensive criminal plan to permanently erase the Muslim population of Srebrenica," but said that Mladic should also be on trial.
Mladic, former head of the Bosnian Serb army, has escaped capture for years and his fugitive status has been a sticking point in Serbia's membership negotiations with the European Union [JURIST report; EU materials]. Mladic is believed to be hiding in Serbia and in June Del Ponte said she would ask the UN Security Council to grant the ICTY power to apprehend Mladic as well as former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case backgrounder; BBC profile]. In addition, the US has cut off financial aid to Serbia [JURIST report] because of its failure to arrest Mladic. AP has more.