AFP – Serbian war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic said Wednesday he hopes an upcoming UN report will recognise his country’s “complete cooperation” in trying to bring to justice two fugitives accused of atrocities during the 1990s Balkans War.
Vukcevic’s comments came as Serge Brammertz, the chief prosecutor of the UN’s Yugoslav war crimes court (ICTY), arrived in Belgrade on a two-day assessment visit.
He is to submit a report to the UN Security Council on the level of Serbian cooperation in tracking down suspected war criminals Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic.
“I hope that he (Brammertz) will be able to see this complete cooperation for himself as he is aware of everything that we are doing to arrest the two remaining fugitives,” Vukcevic told Serbian public television.
“Once these two fugitives have been arrested, we will no longer need a report from Serge Brammertz as the case will be closed,” he added.
Mladic, 67, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb armed forces, has been on the run since being indicted by the ICTY in 1995.
He is alleged to be behind the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that left 10,000 people dead and the July 1995 massacre of around 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.
Former Croatian Serb leader Hadzic, 51, is wanted over the murder of hundreds of people and the deportation of tens of thousands of Croat and non-Serb civilians during the 1991-1995 Croatian war.
The arrests of Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic are key conditions for Serbia to activate a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), considered to be a first step on its way toward European Union membership.
The Netherlands has refused to sign the agreement, which needs the approval from all 27 EU members, until they are arrested.
Upon his arrival Brammertz met Vukcevic and was to have talks with intelligence officials by the end of the day.
In a brief statement issued after the meeting, Vukcevic’s office said the two “have reached a high level of understanding” in relation to cases already on trial before the ICTY or the Special court in Belgrade.
Bruno Vekaric, Vukcevic’s spokesman, told Beta news agency that the prosecutor’s office estimated the “meeting as extremely successful.”
And Dusan Ignjatovic, chief of Serbia’s office for cooperation with the ICTY, told B92 TV station that the country “is cooperating (with the UN court) as best as it can at this moment.”
Ignjatovic said he expected Brammertz’s report to be “objective and correct” as the ICTY’s prosecutor’s “opinion (on cooperation) is of utmost importance.”
“There is no one at this moment who doubts that there is a political will in Serbia” for the arrest of Mladic, Ignjatovic said.
On Thursday, Brammertz will hold talks with President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic