Serbia pressing hunt for war crimes fugitives with EU deal in the balance Joshua Pantesco at 10:17 AM ET
[JURIST] Serbia will increase efforts to locate and arrest several war criminals to curry a favorable report from Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] when she advises EU officials on pending pre-membership deal with the country, a Serb liaison official said Wednesday. Del Ponte has heaped criticism on Serbia for failing to bring to justice several accused war criminals who are believed to be hiding in Serbia, including former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic [ICTY backgrounder; JURIST news archive], former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic [JURIST report], and Bosnian Serb police commander Stojan Zupljanin [ICTY indictment].
On Monday, the European Union said [JURIST report] it would sign a pre-membership aid and economic deal with Serbia only if Del Ponte's report indicates Serbia has cooperated with the ICTY. Previous negotiations were put on hold [JURIST report] for more than 13 months after Del Ponte determined Belgrade was not actively pursuing wanted fugitives. The EU and Serbia reopened membership talks after the Serbian government renewed efforts to capture Mladic. The renewed efforts led to the arrest of Mladic's former intelligence officer, Zdravko Tolimir [JURIST report]. Del Ponte's report is expected some time after September 24. AP has more.
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