Global Policy Forum

Arrest Mladic and You Will Join The EU Sooner


By Ivona Baric

May 24, 2007

The Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe says that the arrest would show that war crimes are acts of individuals.

Full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal is the best way for the Serbian people to show that war crimes are acts of individuals and that they have nothing to do with the entire people. For this to happen, it is necessary to arrest Ratko Mladic and others charged with war crimes, said Rene van der Linden, the Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in Belgrade on Thursday.

Van der Linden has arrived to Belgrade to take part in the session of the Standing Committee of the Council of Europe, the first working meeting since Serbia came to preside over the organization on May 11. The country was accepted into the Council of Europe in 2003. Van der Linden warned that war crimes trials in Serbia had to become more important, adding that the recent trial of the members of the ''Scorpion'' group for the crime against six residents of Srebrenica in Trnovo in 1995 was a ''positive sign."

''It is unacceptable that Mladic is free''

It is entirely unacceptable that war criminals like Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are still free, said the Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. He pointed out that this was the reason why Serbia's integration into Europe was slowed down and he expressed hope that the negotiations on the Agreement on Stabilization and Association of Serbia into the EU would soon continue. He appealed to the ruling coalition in Serbia to be united in its work because this was the only way to win the battle against the growing nationalism and radicalization as well as the growing feeling of marginalization of the Serbian society.

The new Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic also talked about the cooperation with the Hague Tribunal. He said that full cooperation with the Tribunal was the Serbian Government's priority and that all those accused of war crimes had to be found, arrested and extradited.

"This is not just our international commitment, it is also our moral obligation to the neighbours and the world, but primarily to ourselves," said Jeremic, adding that Serbia's priorities while it is presiding over the Council of Europe would be the promotion of basic European values, increasing the security of the citizens, building a more humane Europe and strengthening cooperation in the region. The speaker of the Serbian National Assembly Oliver Dulic agreed with this and said that Serbia was a young democracy, but that the country would do everything to strengthen the basic values of the Council of Europe, to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Kosovo issue must be resolved in a European way

Minister Jeremic talked about Kosovo and said that the problem had to be resolved in a European way and that Serbia's proposal respected the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty and made it possible for the Albanian citizens in Kosovo to satisfy their "legitimate demands for essential self-government:" "Our proposal avoids maximum demands that create winners and losers," said the Serbian Foreign Minister.

On the eve of the Council of Europe's Standing Committe's session, van der Linden met with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Foreign Minister Jeremic in Belgrade on Wednesday. He told them that presiding over the Council of Europe was an opportunity for Serbia to show that it was a part of a large community of European nations and that it was ready to fulfill all of its international commitments, especially the commitment of cooperation with the Hague Tribunal.

More Information on International Justice
More Information on Ratko Mladic
More Information on Radovan Karadzic
More Information on the Rogues Gallery
More Information on the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia


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