Serbia pledges to deliver Mladic in April
07.04.06 @ 09:53
Serbia has promised that fugitive general Ratko Mladic will be delivered to the UN tribunal for war crimes in ex-Yugoslavia in The Hague by the end of this month.
A spokesman for chief UN prosecutor Carla del Ponte told journalists on Thursday (6 April) that The Hague received "clear assurances from [Serb leader] Kostunica for the delivery of Ratko Mladic by the end of April."
He added that the same message was given to EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn just days before the bloc's institutions were to decide whether to resume talks on the country's Stabilisation and Association Agreement setting closer links with the EU.
"You can see there were some things happening in Belgrade but we have no concrete information as to what is being done," the spokesman indicated, stressing "We would like them to work in quiet."
Local weekly Slobodna Bosna quoted a high-level official as claiming that Ms del Ponte herself was present during a phone conversation between Serbian prime minister Vojislav Kostunica and general Mladic during her visit to Belgrade on 29 March, Reuters says.
The prosecutor reportedly promised the fugitive the best possible medical treatment in The Hague after he revealed he was seriously ill.
General Mladic said he wished to surrender in Bosnia's Serb Republic for which he "spilled blood for years" in a conversation that was said to have lasted less than five minutes.
Thursday’s announcement by The Hague followed reports that several relatives of the former Bosnian Serb army leader were arrested on Wednesday.
Mr Mladic's wife has been reported as complaining about the increasing pressure for her husband's handover.
"I am in shock, I can't believe the pressure put on us," Bosa Mladic told a Belgrade daily.
Mladic is indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity committed as part of the siege of Sarajevo during war in Bosnia and for ordering the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim boys and men.
The EU has made Serbia's cooperation with the Hague tribunal a key condition for closer ties and potential membership of the bloc.