Serbia met obligation by nabbing Mladic: prosecutor

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 06, 2011 12:24 PM
Serbia met obligation by nabbing Mladic: prosecutor

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Serbia has met one of its key obligations to the U.N. tribunal for the former Yugoslavia by arresting Bosnian Serb wartime military commander Ratko Mladic, the court's chief prosecutor said Monday.

But the prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, told the U.N. Security Council that Belgrade still faced "troubling questions" about why war-crimes suspect Mladic was able to remain at large for so long.

Cooperation with the tribunal is crucial to Serbia's prospects for joining the European Union.

Mladic, branded the "butcher of the Balkans" for his role in Bosnia's 1992-95 ethnic war, was arrested in Serbia on May 26 after 16 years on the run. He was sent to the Hague, where he made his first appearance before the war crimes tribunal last Friday.

"With Ratko Mladic's arrest, Serbia has ... met one of its key obligations toward the tribunal," Brammertz told the 15-nation Security Council.

"The fact remains that he was at large for 16 years," Brammertz added. "This raises troubling questions about how it was possible for this individual to elude the substantial resources of a state system for so many years."

(Reporting by Patrick Worsnip)