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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 December 2005, 11:45 GMT
Bosnia most wanted 'out of reach'
By Nick Hawton
BBC News, Sarajevo

Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic (right)
Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic (right): On the run for 10 years
The outgoing commander of international peacekeepers in Bosnia says the two top indicted war crimes suspects are very unlikely to be arrested soon.

Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his former top general Ratko Mladic have been on the run for 10 years, accused of genocide.

British Major-General David Leakey has been commanding the EU's largest ever peacekeeping mission for the past year. He is handing over command to his Italian successor on Tuesday.

General Leakey said coordinated international action had now made it virtually impossible for Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic to move around freely.

The EU peacekeeping mission to Bosnia (Eufor) took over from Nato a year ago.

The transition has gone smoothly and Eufor has taken decisive action against organised crime gangs that operate in the country.

Eufor has also stepped up the pressure on Mr Karadzic and Mr Mladic, by closing down alleged hideouts and trying to strangle the financial and logistical support they receive.

But General Leakey admits this is not enough.

"We have completely as it were drained the swamp and these people cannot now move with freedom. So what chance of Eufor catching these people? I would say a very low possibility of Eufor catching Mladic and Karadzic, because I don't believe that Mladic and Karadzic will ever risk moving freely in Bosnia and Hercegovina."

The fact that the two fugitives remain free has increased speculation that both are now living in neighbouring Serbia and Montenegro and are therefore out of reach of peacekeepers in Bosnia.

If that is the case, then it is political rather than military support that General Leakey's successor will need if he is to finally capture the two.

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