News 09 Oct 12

ICTY Chief Prosecutor Meets Serbia's New Government

The ICTY Chief Prosecutor expects the high levels of cooperation with Serbian institutions to continue and urged the Serbian war crime prosecution to investigate Mladic’s network of helpers.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade

During his two day visit to Serbia, Serge Brammertz, the Chief Prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal, ICTY, held meetings with the Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic, and the Minister of Defence, Aleksandar Vucic.

“After these meetings, I can say that the new government will continue to cooperate with the ICTY,” Brammertz said, adding that “the Minister of Defence assured me that they would provide us with all the requested information.“  

The Serbian PM, Ivica Dacic, expressed his hope that Brammertz’s report on Serbia for the UN, which is due in November, would be a positive one, since the report would impact Serbia’s progress towards EU membership.

After the meeting with the Serbian Chief Prosecutor for War Crimes, Vladimir Vukcevic, Brammertz said that he was assured that the network of people who helped the former Bosnian Serb army chief, Ratko Mladic, hide in Serbia, would be identified and tried.

“ I received some very interesting additional information [about the network] today, which may prove promising,” said Brammertz.

In August and September the Serbian Higher Court sentenced two people for helping Mladic to evade arrest.

The Serbian prosecutor's office is also investigating a further six people suspected of helping to hide Mladic, and another ICTY indictee, Stojan Zupljanin. Pre-trial proceedings are underway against seven more individuals.



Ten more people are currently on trial for the second time in front of Serbia’s General Court for hiding Mladic. The verdict from 2010 that acquitted them was quashed and the case was sent for retrial.

The Chief Prosecutor also praised Serbia’s cooperation with the ICTY after meeting Rasim Ljajic, the head of the National Council for Cooperation with the ICTY.

According to Ljaljic’s office, Brammertz promised that any information that the ICTY has regarding organ trafficking case in Kosovo would be forwarded to the EULEX special team, run by Clint Williamson.

Brammerz had previously criticized the screening of a TV interview with a former KLA member, who claimed to have participated in organ harvesting. The Chief Prosecutor told the Tanjug news agency that “there are good professional and legal reasons why this information needed to stay secret until the completion of the investigation”.

He added that the ICTY cannot interfere in any ongoing investigations, because the ICTY’s mandate to carry out its own enquiries ended in 2004.

 “All the information that the ICTY had on this issue was forwarded to the Serbian prosecution and EULEX,” he added.

 

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