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Serbia ICTY cooperation progressing: report

[JURIST] Serbia is cooperating with the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive], according to a report [text, PDF] presented [statement, PDF] Thursday to the UN Security Council [official website] by Chief War Crimes Prosecutor Serge Brammertz [official profile]. Brammertz noted the need to catch two remaining fugitives, Ratko Mladic [ICTY materials; amended indictment, PDF] and Goran Hadzic [ICTY materials; indictment], but praised Serbia for the progress it has made:

Since the last briefing to the Council, Serbia's cooperation with my Office has continued to progress. Prosecution requests to access documents and archives are being dealt with more expeditiously and effectively. It is important that the authorities continue to provide this level of assistance, which will remain crucial during current and future trial and appeals work.

This progress could put Serbia's bid for EU membership back into motion by unfreezing Serbia's Interim Trade Agreement [text, PDF], said [press release, in Serbian] Serbian President Boris Tadic [official website, in Serbian]. The Netherlands, which had an integral role in the freezing of Serbia's Interim Trade Agreement until full Serbian cooperation with the ICTY was achieved, responded positively to Brammertz's report, with Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen [official profile, in Dutch] saying [press release, in Dutch], "[t]he reporting of Brammertz is positive. I will next week with my European colleagues discuss what this means for deciding on the integration process of Serbia."

Last year, then-ICTY president Fausto Pocar called for the arrest [JURIST report] of of Mladic and Hadzic, while speaking before the UN General Assembly [official website]. In September 2008, Brammertz told reporters in Serbia 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 2008 arrest [JURIST report] of former Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY materials; JURIST news archive], currently on trial before the ICTY. In August 2008, Tadic 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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