UN prosecutor for ex-Yugoslavia files amended Mladic genocide indictment

By Jovana Gec, AP
Thursday, May 13, 2010

UN prosecutor files amended Mladic indictment

BELGRADE, Serbia — U.N. prosecutors have filed an amended indictment against Europe’s top fugitive Ratko Mladic, seeking to speed up the court proceedings once he is arrested, the chief U.N. prosecutor for former Yugoslavia said Thursday.

The amended indictment lists 11 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for Mladic’s role in the mass killing of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica, sniping and shelling of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, ethnic cleansing and hostage-taking of U.N. peacekeepers by the Bosnian Serb troops, Serge Brammertz said.

“Ratko Mladic is charged with planning, instigating and ordering each of the crimes,” according to a statement issued at the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

“If accepted by the judges, this amended indictment will facilitate the speeding of proceedings once Mladic is arrested,” Brammertz said.

Brammertz spoke after meeting Serbia’s officials and intelligence officers responsible for finding the wartime Bosnian Serb army commander, who has been on the run since 1995.

Mladic is believed to be hiding in Serbia, which is now run by a pro-Western government, but where Mladic still enjoys support among the nationalists who consider him a hero. Serbia must arrest Mladic if it wants to move forward in its bid to become a member of the European Union.

Brammertz said he is “cautiously optimistic” that Mladic will be arrested soon. He described his meetings with Serbian operatives as “very professional and very transparent,” but warned that he is “extremely careful in raising expectations.”

Former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic, another fugitive believed to be hiding in Serbia, is also wanted. In 2008, Belgrade handed over another top suspect, former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic, who is now facing a genocide trial at The Hague.

Serbian leaders have insisted that they are doing all they can to arrest Mladic. A statement Thursday by Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic said Serbia is “continuously making all efforts possible” to find the fugitives.

Brammertz will report to the U.N. Security Council about Serbia’s cooperation on June 18.

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