A Serbian court postponed a case for possession of illegal weapons against the wife of Europe's most wanted fugitive Ratko Mladic on Friday, amid renewed pledges by government officials that they will find and arrest her husband.
Bosiljka Mladic could face prison if convicted over the three guns, a rifle and ammunition found in a police search of the family home in Belgrade in 2008.
"This whole case is a form of pressure, designed to show that they (the state) are making an effort," declared family lawyer Milos Saljic, after the judge postponed the case until April over procedural reasons.
About two dozen ultranationalists showed up at the hearing holding banners in support of Mladic to protest what they described as the "torture" of his family. They also accused the government of "humiliating" Serbia.
Former Bosnian Serb army commander Mladic is wanted by a U.N. court over the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica and other war crimes during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.
Government officials reiterated on Friday that he will be captured. Senior police official Milorad Veljovic said "the entire security system" is working to find Mladic and another fugitive Goran Hadzic, The arrest is Serbia's "key interest," he added. Hadzic is a former Croatian Serb leader wanted for atrocities stemming from Croatia's 1991-95 war.
The official in charge of the hunt, Rasim Ljajic, promised "efforts at locating the remaining two fugitives will produce results."
"It is true that Mladic has been hiding successfully ... but we have been successful in tracking other fugitives in the past.".
It is widely believed Mladic is hiding in Serbia under protection from hardliners who consider him a war hero. EU officials have told Serbia's pro-Western government that it must arrest Mladic to advance in its bid to become an EU member.
The lawyer, Saljic, said the family insists that Mladic has died and wants the Serbian courts to declare him officially dead. He said that "whoever buried him would not come forward fearing the consequences."
Serbian officials, however, have said the family's bid to declare Mladic dead is aimed at undermining the search.