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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 November, 2004, 22:58 GMT
War crimes suspects 'living free'
By Susannah Price
BBC News, United Nations

Carla Del Ponte, prosecutor at the UN war crimes tribunal
Carla Del Ponte wants the chance to prosecute more suspects
At least 12 wanted fugitives are living free because Serbia is refusing to arrest them, the war crimes tribunal prosecutor has told the United Nations.

Carla Del Ponte said the Serbian government had deliberately chosen to ignore its legal obligations.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was set up in 1993 in The Hague and has so far tried 36 alleged war criminals.

Ms Del Ponte said it was crucial that 20 other suspects be arrested soon.

Ms Del Ponte, the prosecutor for the former Yugoslavia tribunal, said the governments of Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Hercegovina had the responsibility for bringing those indicted to The Hague for trial.

She said the vast majority of them were living freely in Serbia and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica had already stated he would not arrest them.

Results demanded

She told the Security Council that it was a scandal that those indicted by the tribunal, such as the wartime leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic, and the Bosnian Serb military commander blamed for the slaughter of Muslims in Srebrenica, Ratko Mladic, had not been caught.

"2005 will also mark the 10th anniversary of three key events: the Srebrenica genocide, the Dayton agreement and the indictment against Karadzic and Mladic," she said.

"If the international community could not prevent the genocide, it should at least not allow this and other most serious crimes to be left unpunished."

Ms Del Ponte said she needed results.

The UN Security Council has set the international tribunal a target of 2008 to finish the trials.

But the prosecutor said if the most wanted people were not arrested in the coming months, it might be necessary to revise that date.

The men wanted by the War Crimes Tribunal

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