News 26 Jun 07

Del Ponte Urges EU Not To Reward Serbia without Mladic

Brussels _The Chief prosecutor of The Hague war crimes tribunal, ICTY, Carla del Ponte has urged the European Union not to sign a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Serbia without Ratko Mladic behind bars.

“There should be no signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement before Ratko Mladic is arrested and full cooperation established,” she said on Tuesday.


“The signing of the SAA is the next extremely important leverage opportunity regarding Serbia,” Del Ponte told the foreign affairs committee of the European parliament.

Del Ponte defended the EU’s conditional approach to Serbia, noting that 90 percent of suspects from Serbia who were now in custody had been sent to The Hague because of the EU’s carrot-and-stick approach.

She expressed concern that no news had been heard lately of Radovan Karadzic, saying: “He has disappeared from the radar screen.”

“I know he's around, because he comes up with books and poetry, he still produces his literature, but no one seems to be looking for him anymore. If Mladic was captured it would be much easier to smoke out Karadzic,” Del Ponte said.

Del Ponte said she hoped Mladic would be arrested this year because she did not believe the Tribunal would have another mandate after 2008.

Referring to Kosovo, Del Ponte denied urging the UN Security Council to delay a decision on final status, saying she had been misinterpreted. In fact, she had said she hoped “the decision on Kosovo won’t undermine the hunt for fugitives”.

However, she accused the UN administration in Kosovo, UNMIK, or undermining the Tribunal’s work and of favouring only one side in Kosovo for the sake of the stability and security of the UN staff there.

“The proximity of the UNMIK leadership to those accused by the ICTY has had a very negative impact on the Tribunal’s work and image”, Del Ponte said.

The intimidation of witnesses in Kosovo cases was a serious problem, she added, referring to the process against the former Kosovo prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj.

The Chief Prosecutor did not exclude the possibility Haradinaj might be declared innocent “not because of the lack of proof [of guilt] but because of the lack of any possibility to present the proofs in the courtroom”.

“We have 15 important witnesses who refuse to came and testify because they are afraid for their life and the life of their relatives,” she said. “Some members of police service are not friendly with the Tribunal and therefore they don’t want to protect ‘traitors’”, Del Ponte said.

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