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US urges Serbia to increase efforts to capture war crimes fugitives

[JURIST] Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina must arrest former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case backgrounder; BBC profile] and his military commander Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST news archive], both wanted on war crimes charges, in order to be further integrated into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) [official website], US officials said Wednesday. The US State Department comments came after a two-day NATO summit [summit website] in Riga, Latvia and NATO's decision to invite [press release] Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina to join the Partnership for Peace Program [official website]. A State Department spokesman warned that both nations can expect no further integration [press briefing transcript] into NATO, the European Union or other Euro-Atlantic organizations until Karadzic and Mladic are captured. Deputy State Department Spokesman Tom Casey said that while "both countries have turned over dozens of people indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal," they need "to do more to insure that the six remaining fugitives, which includes Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, are apprehended as quickly as possible. And I do think it's pretty clear, if you look at what decisions have been made here, that further integration, not only into NATO but into some of the other Euro-Atlantic institutions, is going to be contingent on the full resolution of those cases."

Carla Del Ponte [official profile], chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website], has repeatedly criticized Serbia's lack of progress [JURIST report] in capturing Mladic and Karadzic and has discouraged [JURIST report] the European Union [official website] from resuming membership talks with Serbia. Mladic and Karadzic are wanted by the ICTY for alleged crimes committed during Bosnia's 1992-95 war, including organizing the 1995 slaughter of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica [JURIST news archive]. VOA has more.

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