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Serbia prosecutors investigating network that aided war criminals

The Serbian war crimes prosecutor announced on Friday that his office is investigating suspects accused of helping former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic [ICTY case materials; JURIST news archive] and former security official Stojan Zupljanin [ICTY case materials] evade justice until they were arrested to face trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. Vladimir Vukcevic [profile, PDF] said that a total of 13 individuals are being investiged. It is alleged that six helped Mladic while seven others aided Zupljanin. Among the six who allegedly helped Mladic is a former top general of military intelligence, according to the prosecutor. He refused to provide any names of the suspects at this time. Friday's announcement came after prosecutor Serge Brammertz [official profile] of the ICTY had criticized [JURIST report] Serbia for its failure to investigate and prosecute those who aided the fugitives earlier this month.

Trial Chamber I of the ICTY has suspended [JURIST report] the trial of Mladic due to an error in disclosing documents to the defense lawyers. His trial was postponed indefinitely [JURIST report] in May due to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct related to evidence disclosure. Mladic has been charged with several counts of genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive] including murder, political persecution, forcible transfer and deportations, cruel treatment and the taking of peacekeepers as hostages. In June 2008, Serbian authorities transferred [JURIST report] Zupljanin to the ICTY after a national court refused his appeal against extradition. He was arrested [JURIST report] earlier that month on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the laws of war for allegedly killing civilians during the ethnic conflicts of the 1990s.

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