20th Feb 2020

Serbia to file new Mladic arrest plan

  • Serbian prime minister Vojislav Kostunica will present a new Mladic arrest plan to the EU in July (Photo: European Commission)

Serbia is preparing an action plan on arresting top war crimes suspect general Ratko Mladic, to be presented to Brussels in mid-July.

"All Serbian security forces, its military units and police should work together to localise Ratko Mladic," Serbian finance minister Mladjan Dinkic said on Sunday (25 June), according to AFP agency.

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"We should attempt to solve this problem with the European Union and the US," Mr Dinkic added.

Under the plan, Belgrade is also considering to ask foreign secret services to help the country's authorities to find the general - in line with previous suggestions by foreign minister Vuk Draskovic by consulting German intelligence service BND.

"Indirectly, that would also be a way to prove that we are doing all we can to find Mladic," Jovan Simic, a political advisor to the Serbian president pointed out.

The new strategy, to be discussed by the Serbian cabinet on Thursday (29 June), comes amid reports in local Serbian media suggesting the fugitive's health condition has further worsened.

A Belgrade tabloid daily Kurir reported last week that the 64-year-old former Bosnian Serb Army commander - on the run since 2001 - had suffered "his third stroke" and was in grave condition, according to Reuters.

General Mladic is wanted by the UN court in the Hague on charges of genocide in the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo in 1992-95, which killed 10,000 civilians.

The EU has suspended talks with Belgrade over closer ties with the bloc due to its failure to deliver the fugitive by the end of April, while the US blocked aid to the country in May after another deadline for his capture had passed.

Serbian prime minister Vojislav Kostunica criticised the EU earlier this month, arguing the bloc's "policy of constant setting of conditions" towards Serbia was "deeply wrong" and counterproductive.

But EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn replied by saying the Serbian government should stop blaming Brussels for its own failures.

Mr Rehn indicated he was "grateful that Prime Minister Kostunica stopped short of putting responsibility on the EU for Serbia-Montenegro's 6-0 defeat against Argentina in the World Cup."

According to AP, Mr Kostunica is planning to ask representatives of different Serbian secret service units to participate in this week's cabinet discussions in order to answer his "numerous queries."

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