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Balkan Nations Accused of Harboring 2

Bosnia: War crimes prosecutor says freedom of Mladic and Karadzic 'mocks' the system.

November 28, 2001|From Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. chief war crimes prosecutor accused the Yugoslav government Tuesday of harboring the Bosnian Serbs' wartime commander who has been indicted for genocide.

Carla Del Ponte said that Gen. Ratko Mladic is living in Belgrade and that the Yugoslav army is shielding him from national and international justice with the government's consent.

She also accused authorities in the Republika Srpska, the Serb-controlled half of Bosnia-Herzegovina, of knowing the whereabouts of Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic.

"I think that the victims and survivors of the Bosnian conflict deserve that a real effort be made toward the arrest of Karadzic and Mladic," she said.

In an address to the U.N. Security Council, Del Ponte said the continuing freedom of Bosnia's two top war crimes suspects "is an affront to the authority of this council and mocks the entire process of international criminal justice."

She urged the international community to pressure Yugoslavia to hand over Mladic and push the Republika Srpska and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to arrest Karadzic.

Del Ponte said the tribunal knows "an address of Mladic in Belgrade," the capital, where he is being guarded by the Yugoslav army.

She accused the government of President Vojislav Kostunica of failing to move on adoption of a law the president claimed was needed before Yugoslavia could cooperate with the tribunal.

Yugoslavia's U.N. ambassador, Dejan Sahovic, told the council that his government has repeatedly emphasized the "crucial importance" of cooperating with the tribunal. He said it is important now to set up a legal framework for cooperation.

Karadzic and Mladic have been at large since 1996, when they were indicted for genocide committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

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