ICTY president urges arrest of remaining war crimes fugitives

[JURIST] Judge Fausto Pocar [official profile], President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website], called Monday for the arrest of Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic [ICTY materials, PDF; amended indictment, PDF] and Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic [ICTY materials, PDF; indictment, PDF]. Mladic and Hadzic are the two remaining major fugitives wanted for ICTY prosecution on war crimes charges stemming from their roles as Serbian leaders during the Yugoslavian ethnic conflicts of the 1990s. Both have been in hiding since the end of the conflicts. Pocar's remarks came during a speech to the UN General Assembly [official website] In the speech [text], he said:

Let me now turn to the second point for which Member State support is essential: the arrest of the remaining fugitives. As you well know, positive developments have taken place during the reporting period. The arrests of Stojan Župljanin and Radovan Karadži? were particularly important milestones, and we commend the Government of Serbia for the critical cooperation it provided in this respect. However, we cannot successfully accomplish our work if the last two remaining fugitives, Ratko Mladi? and Goran Hadži?, are not arrested immediately. I must once again emphasize that while the Tribunal has done its utmost to expeditiously conduct and complete its cases, the late arrests of fugitives, for which the international community must take responsibility, will inevitably lead to slippages in the scheduled end of our proceedings. Thus, while we are ensuring that the trials of the four recently arrested accused will all start in 2009, the arrests of the remaining fugitives might oblige us to push even further our target dates for the completion of all trials.

I shall also reiterate that the obligation of all member States of the United Nations to cooperate with the Tribunal pursuant to Article 29 of the Statute are not limited to the arrest of fugitives. This obligation is in fact much wider and also entails the provision of assistance in all aspects of ongoing proceedings before the Tribunal, including access to archives, the production of documents, and access to and protection of witnesses. I must note in this respect preoccupying incidents of witness interference which have occurred during the reporting period, as well as delays in the service of documents, which have affected the expeditious conduct of our proceedings. Finally, State cooperation also entails cooperation in the relocation of witnesses and the enforcement of the Tribunal's sentences. While the Registry has managed to finalize seven agreements on enforcement of sentences, further support from States is required with respect to relocation of witnesses.
AP has more.

Last month, Serge Brammertz [official profile], the Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY, told reporters in Serbia Wednesday that he was "cautiously optimistic" [JURIST report] that Mladic and Hadzic would be brought to justice. International pressure for the capture of the two has increased since the July arrest [JURIST report] of former Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY materials; JURIST news archive]. In August, Serbian President Boris Tadic [official website] said that his country would fully cooperate with the ICTY [JURIST report] to find and arrest Mladic and Hadzic. Mladic faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for overseeing the Srebrenica [JURIST news archive] prison massacre and other killings of Bosnian Muslims and Croats, while Hadzic faces crimes against humanity charges for killings of non-Serbs and for abuses in Croatian prison camps.


 

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