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Serge Brammertz says little action has been taken against those who helped fugit ive war

crimes suspects. By Rachel Irwin - International Justice - ICTY TRI Issue 745, 8 Jun 12 The Hague tribunals chief prosecutor told the United Nations Security Council thi s week that Serbia had done too little to investigate and prosecute those suspec ted of assisting war crimes suspects Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic while the y were fugitives. Prosecutor Serge Brammertz is required to report to the Security Council every s ix months, along with the tribunals president Judge Theodor Meron, on the courts p rogress. Requests for Serbia to move against those who helped the Bosnian Serbs wartime p resident Karadzic and army commander Mladic have borne little fruit, Brammertz s aid in New York on June 7. We have raised this issue repeatedly over the last few years, but we see little e vidence of action, he said. We expect answers to our questions as to how fugitives like Karadzic and Mladic were able to evade justice for so many years and wheth er state officials were involved in aiding them, he said. Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade in 2008 and is currently standing trial at the tribunal. His former subordinate Mladic was apprehended on May 26, 2011, in the Serbian village of Lazarevo. Prosecutors delivered their opening statements in his case on May 16 and 17. Both men had been at large since they were indicted in 1995. Brammertz said that during a recent visit to Belgrade, the Serbian war crimes pr osecutor Vladimir Vukcevic committed his office to conducting more in-depth inve stigations into the fugitives networks in the coming months. We await the results as a matter of priority, Brammertz said. Responding to Brammertzs comments, Feodor Starcevic, Serbias representative at the UN in New York, acknowledged the importance of establishing who harboured the s uspects. He said Serbian officials had shared information about this with the Ha gue prosecutors office in good faith. Starcevic reaffirmed Serbias commitment to full cooperation with the Hague tribun al, noting that none of the wanted suspects were still at large. Turning to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brammertz said that thousands of serious crime s still require follow up by local officials. He warned that the Bosnian governments national strategy for dealing with war cri mes, adopted in 2008, would fail unless it was made a top priority and allocated more resources. The strategy was designed as a roadmap for Bosnian courts to be tter investigate and prosecute war crimes cases. Brammertz said the success of local war crimes trials depended on greater region al cooperation, particularly between Serbia and Bosnia. The proposed war crimes cooperation protocol between prosecution offices in these two countries is still not signed, almost one year after the initial target dat e, he said.

Brammertz concluded by chastising Serbias new president Tomislav Nikolic for his recent denial that the 1995 Srebrenica massacre during which more than 7,000 Bos nian Muslim men and boys were killed constituted genocide. In an interview broadcast just hours after he was officially sworn in on May 31, Nikolic said the killings in the eastern Bosnian town were grave war crimes, but not genocide, AFP news agency reported. Nikolics comments are not acceptable, Brammertz said. His statements contravene the factual and legal findings of both the [Hague tribunal] and the International Co urt of Justice, both of which found that the massacre was genocide. Such rhetoric is a backwards step, aggravates the victims suffering and jeopardise s the fragile process of reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia, Brammertz added . Rachel Irwin is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.