The European Union must keep up pressure on Serbia to track down genocide suspect Ratko Mladic by maintaining his arrest as a condition to EU entry, the UN war crimes prosecutor was quoted as saying Saturday.
Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the ex-Yugoslavia war crimes court, made the appeal as Serbia's bid to join the EU appeared to gain momentum in recent weeks after the country agreed to hold talks with Kosovo.
"It is important for the EU to maintain the principle of conditionality that links the enlargement process with full and complete cooperation with the tribunal," he told the Belgian newspapers La Libre Belgique and De Standaard.
"We don't have more time. The tribunal will close in three to four years. The victims want justice," the Belgian prosecutor said.
Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military chief, is accused of masterminding the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that left 10,000 people dead in 1995 and the July massacre that year of around 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.
On the run since the war ended in 1995, he faces charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) based in The Hague.
His arrest has been a key condition for Serbia's bid to join the 27-nation EU, but the country's chances of speeding up EU entry took a brighter turn after it agreed to hold talks with Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008.
Source: AFP Global Edition