UN says Karadzic in Belgrade

Top Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic has taken refuge in Belgrade, the UN's chief prosecutor has said.

    Del Ponte says Belgrade is a safe haven for fugitives

    Carla del Ponte said on Wednesday that the Serbian city had become a "safe haven" for fugitives from her tribunal.

    But the Serbian government immediately denied all knowledge of the whereabouts of

    Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader during the

    bloody 1992-1995 war in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

    Del Ponte said Karadzic had apparently joined his then

    army chief Ratko Mladic in the Serbian capital, where authorities

    have frozen contacts with her.

    "Karadzic is now residing in Belgrade," said the chief

    prosecutor from the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for

    the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), citing a "credible source" who came

    forward with information last week.

    Bosnia atrocities

    "I don't know how we can get those (fugitves in Serbia) arrested and transferred to

    The Hague. But we are expecting... that the tribunal will not close

    the door without having Mladic and Karadzic in The Hague"

    Carla del Ponte,
    International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

    Indicted by the UN war crimes court for genocide for his role in

    Bosnia's war, Karadzic remains for many the symbol of the worst

    atrocities perpetrated in Europe since World War II, but Serbs in

    Bosnia consider him a war hero.

    The NATO-led Stabilization Force in Bosnia has recently stepped

    up efforts to find Karadzic, who tops the list of war crimes

    suspects along with Mladic.

    Del Ponte, speaking after talks with EU foreign policy chief

    Javier Solana in Brussels, said: "I received just last week

    information from a credible source that... Karadzic is now in

    Belgrade."

    But Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic flatly denied

    any knowledge of Karadzic's whereabouts.

    "Her statements are nothing new or unexpected," Zivkovic was

    quoted as saying by the Beta news agency.

    Serb denial 

    "She has been saying the

    same or similar things for years but so far she has not provided any

    information which could help arrest the indictees, and even less to

    support her claims.

    "State autorities have no information which could support her

    claims."

    NATO this month vowed no let-up in the manhunt for Karadzic,

    after a near-miss by alliance forces was reported.

    And NATO spokesman James Appathurai

    called for Belgrade to cooperate with the

    ICTY.

    "Each government has a responsibility to cooperate with the

    tribunal," he said, noting that such cooperation was a condition for

    Serbia's hopes to join NATO's Partnership for Peace (PFP) programme.

    Del Ponte also lamented that cooperation between the ICTY and Serbian

    authorities had ground to a halt.

    "Her statements are nothing new or unexpected.

    She has been saying the

    same or similar things for years but so far she has not provided any

    information which could help arrest the indictees, and even less to

    support her claims"

    Zoran Zivkovic,
    Serbian Prime Miniser

    Fugitives 

    "We must say at this time

    cooperation is frozen," she said, adding "Belgrade is now a safe

    haven for fugitives".

    And she said around 15 war crimes suspects remained on the run

    in Serbia.

    "I don't know how we can get those arrested and transferred to

    The Hague. But we are expecting... that the tribunal will not close

    the door without having Mladic and Karadzic in The Hague."

    The charges against Karadzic and Mladic relate in particular to

    the three-and-a-half-year-long siege of Sarajevo, which killed around

    10,000 civilians.

    Karadzic is also accused of being one of the prime organizers of

    the 1995 massacre of more than 7000 Muslim men and boys in the

    eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

    SOURCE: AFP


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