[JURIST] Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor Vladmir Vukcevic said Wednesday that fugitive Bosnian Serb leader Ratko Mladic [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] is in Serbia, and that authorities are closing in on him. Vukevic's comments are the first acknowledgement by a Serbian official that Mladic is hiding in the country, although that has been widely suspected. Vukcevic said that Serbian authorities have isolated Mladic in a large area and are working to locate him more precisely, arrest him and transfer him to The Hague for trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website].
Jasna Sarcevic Jankovic, the Public Information Coordinator for the Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor's Office [official website], told JURIST's Hotline earlier this month that:
The location, arresting and transfer of Ratko Mladic and the other three indictees to The Hague is not only our international obligation, but also our moral duty. The fact is that Serbia has so far fulfilled most of its obligations towards the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, including the extradition of its two former presidents. All of them have been charged with the gravest criminal offences recognised by the international humanitarian law. The extradition of the remaining indictees would be a proof that the Serbian people do not want to carry this burden on into the future.Mladic, along with Bosnian Serb wartime political leader Radovan Karadzic, is especially wanted in connection with the July 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica [JURIST news archive]. AFP has more.
Substantial capacities of the Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor's Office have been focused on the solution to this problem. What motivates us to proceed with our efforts is the acknowledgement that the Serbian state institutions have done their best in order to have The Hague fugitives brought to justice.