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Top war crimes fugitive, Ratko Mladic, may be arrested "in a few weeks", del Ponte says.

Top war crimes fugitive, Ratko Mladic, may be arrested "in a few weeks", del Ponte says.Ratko Mladic, the top UN war crimes fugitive, may be arrested "within a few weeks."  Chief prosecutor at the UN war crimes tribunal at the Hague, Carla del Ponte, stated that she saw "concrete signs" of the detention and extradition of Mladic.  Ms. del Ponte said she had hoped to see Mladic face prosecution before she stepped down from her position in September.  Boris Tadic, Serbia's president, confirmed that Serbian leaders were determined to arrest General Mladic.

Mladic was the architect of the massacre at Srebrenica in July 1995.  A paramilitary force, known as the Scorpions unit, summarily executed some 8,000 Bosnian men in the UN "safe zone' of Srebrenica.  The forces, led by General Mladic, "stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity.", according to a press release from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).  The Srebrenica massacre is the worst such incident committed in Europe since the slaughter of millions of Jews in World War II.

The detention of Mladic is integral to the negotiation of Stabilization and Association Agreement (SSA), the agreement to establish a contractual relationship between Serbia and Montenegro and the European Union.  EU officials have stated they will not sign the agreement until Mladic is in custody.  A top associate of Mladic, Zdravko Tolimir, was brought to the Hague last week after he was captured near the border with Bosnia.  Bosnian nationalists, who view Tolimir as a hero, claim Tolimir was dumped over the border and that his arrest was illegal.

Increased political pressure by EU officials has been the only way to coerce a national reconciliation regarding the atrocities committed in the region. 

AP/Financial Times/Reuters



Daniel Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer for United Press International covering Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Levant. He has published works on international and constitutional law pertaining to US terrorism cases and on child soldiers. His first major work, entitled The United States and Israel: The Implications of Alignment, is featured in the text, Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition or Support for US Foreign Policy. He holds a MA in Diplomacy and International Conflict Management from Norwich University, where his focus was international relations theory, international law, and the role of non-state actors.

Areas of Focus:International law; Middle East; Government and Politics; non-state actors