Serbia has been told that unless it brings top war crimes suspects to justice, its ties with the European Union could suffer more in the coming weeks. The bloc’s foreign ministers have told Belgrade that, if it fails to deliver the suspects to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, a next round of association talks scheduled for April 4-5 could be cancelled.
Enlargement Commissioner Ollie Rehn spelled out that the EU’s line was hardening: “We now expect Serbia to achieve full cooperation without delay, which should lead to the arrest and transfer of Ratko Mladic and other remaining inductees. Today’s Council conclusions are very clear and consistent in this regard. However, if Serbia fails to achieve full cooperation without delay, we can’t avoid disruption and we shall have to put the negotiations on hold.”
An EU official said full cooperation meant “activity which leads to the location, the arrest and transfer of all indictees”. Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic and political leader Radovan Karadjic were indicted by the United Nations for genocide in connection with the killings in 1995 of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo. Media speculation about possible arrests heightened last week.