Friday, January 18, 2008


THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (January 18,2008) – Obtaining the arrest and transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of the remaining fugitives, particularly Serbian war criminals Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić, remains an absolute priority. They have been escaping justice since 1995, the new ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serg Brammertz stated yesterday.

Arresting all ICTY fugitives especially Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic will remain an absolute priority, Belgian judge stated in his first address since the November 28 nomination.

”The Office of the Prosecutor will therefore continue to rely on the crucial support and assistance of States in the former Yugoslavia and the international community to finally bring Ratko Mladić, Radovan Karadžić, Goran Hadžić and Stojan Župljanin to justice”, he added.

The four Serbian war criminals are former leaders of the Serbians living in Bosnia Ratko Mladic, Radovan Karadzic,Stojan Zupljanin and former leader of the Serbians living in Croatia Goran Hadzic.

Serbian war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic were indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and severe breaches of the Geneva Conventions committed during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Brammertz stated that “continuation of this task will be of the outmost importance” and announced to visit the Southeastern European countries soon. His Spokesperson Olga Kavran announced that the visit will take place early February.
Slovenia, which holds the EU presidency, has been trying to persuade its partners to sign an agreement with Serbia on January 28.

Holland and Belgium are against Serbia’s association with the EU until the top four Serbian war criminals are brought to justice.

Brammertz stated that he is impressed with the number of achievements of the ICTY, since it was founded in 1993.

”Thanks to the leadership of the previous prosecutors, and most recently Ms. Carla Del Ponte, I inherit a fully functional Office staffed with highly dedicated and capable individuals. Continuity in the work of the Office of the Prosecutor is of utmost importance and I intend to provide the leadership and direction necessary to successfully fulfil our mandate. With 26 individuals on trial, nine on appeal and 11 awaiting trial, this is a busy period for the ICTY. A lot of work remains to be done. Therefore, my first priority will be to ensure the successful conduct of all current and pending criminal proceedings”, he said.

He added that “The cooperation between this Office and the prosecution authorities in the former Yugoslavia remains crucial to the continued prosecution of war crimes in the region. This Office will continue its ongoing cooperation with local war crimes prosecutors and judicial authorities by transferring remaining investigation files and sharing accumulated information and expertise”.

”We are grateful for the support of United Nations member states to the work of this institution and for their approval of the ICTY budget for 2008 and 2009. As ever, we will continue to rely and call on the critical support of the international community and the NGOs since the Tribunal’s successful implementation of its Completion Strategy fully depends on it.
I am fully committed to building upon the Tribunal’s many achievements. We owe this to the victims of the crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia”, Brammertz concluded.

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