The arrest of Ratko Mladic is Serbia’s biggest prerequisite to join the European mainstream. In the EU membership context, Belgrade’s October increase to a ten million euro reward for information leading to his capture does not seem like a lot. Although it is increasingly insistent that it is doing its best to find Mladic, Serbia has little to show for its efforts.
Chief Prosecutor with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia Serge Brammertz, in his latest six-monthly report, said Serbia has competent investigators on the case but that Belgrade needs to produce concrete results.
Brandishing the political carrot alongside the judicial stick, EU foreign ministers, also in October, for the first time formally asked the European Commission for an opinion on launching entry talks for Serbia. It had applied for candidacy at the end of last year.
Mladic is widely believed to have been hiding in Serbia with nationalist sympathizers’ protection. What are said to be his wartime diaries (from a decade and a half earlier) were seized last February in a raid on his former home. The commander of Bosnian Serb forces in the 1992-95 Bosnia war was charged with genocide by the UN for his role in the 43-month siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre.
Mladic is considered Europe’s most-wanted war crimes fugitive, still not brought to stand trial 15 years after the killing.