U.N.: Serbia hesitates to arrest Mladic

March 29, 2006 at 3:16 PM
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BELGRADE, Serbia, March 29 (UPI) -- The U.N. prosecutor said Serbia's officials can arrest war crime suspect Ratko Mladic but they hesitate to do.

Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte of the U.N. tribunal in The Hague held talks Wednesday with Serbia's President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica. Del Ponte "reiterated her belief that (Bosnian Serb Gen.) Mladic is in Serbia, that the authorities can arrest him, but they hesitate to do so," Belgrade B92 radio reported.

The minority government of Kostunica and Tadic is apparently afraid to hand Mladic over to the tribunal, as the move may lead the Socialist party of the late strongman Slobodan Milosevic to suspend its parliamentary support and topple the government, Belgrade media said.

On Friday in Brussels, Del Ponte is to report to officials of the European Union on the status of cooperation between The Hague tribunal and the Serbian authorities.

The tribunal is determined Mladic must be arrested and transferred to The Hague to stand trial on genocide and crime against humanity charges in July.

In case Del Ponte delivers a negative report on the Belgrade talks, the EU is reportedly likely to suspend association and stabilization talks with Serbia, scheduled for Wednesday.

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