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War tribunal head in Serbia visit

A Bosnian Serb woman shows a mask featuring the face of Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic
There is little public support for capturing Serbia's remaining fugitives

The international war crimes tribunal's chief prosecutor is due to visit Serbia to gauge the country's progress hunting for its two remaining war fugitives.

Serge Brammertz will spend two days in Belgrade before submitting a report to the UN Security Council.

His comments on how Serbia is co-operating with the tribunal will be key to its ambitions for EU membership.

His visit comes a day after ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic appeared for the first time in the court.

Mr Karadzic, arrested in Belgrade in 2008, after nearly 13 years on the run, has been boycotting his trial.

He says he has had insufficient time to study the prosecution documents and prepare his defence, despite being indicted in 1995.

Little public support

The two remaining wanted men are Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic who is wanted for war crimes in Croatia.

The Serbian government says that most Serbs are opposed to the arrest of Mr Mladic and public support for handing him over has fallen dramatically.

According to a poll carried out by the authorities, 51% of those questioned are against his capture and extradition.

Only 26% support his capture, almost half of the percentage of those in favour a year ago.

"We have never had so few of those who say they support Mladic's extradition," said Rasim Ljajic, the government official in charge of the hunt.

Aid blocked

The BBC's Mark Lowen, in Belgrade, says the visit and subsequent report by Mr Brammertz will be of huge importance for the Serbian government.

If, he says, they are deemed to be co-operating fully with the tribunal it could propel Serbia towards its goal of EU membership.

The Dutch government has frozen Serbia's EU negotiations until the last two remaining Hague detainees are apprehended, and has blocked an aid and trade deal between the country and the EU.

The government, our correspondent says, will be hoping that a favourable report by the chief prosecutor could persuade the Netherlands to soften its position.



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