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Wednesday, 4 October, 2000, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
UN prosecutor hints at arrests
Women praying near Srebrenica
Five years on, families mourn the dead and missing
By Alex Kroeger in Sarajevo

The chief war crimes prosecutor for the former Yugoslavia, Carla del Ponte, has said she will not rest until the former Bosnian Serb Leader Radovan Karadzic and the ex-commander of the Bosnian army, General Ratko Mladic, are arrested for war crimes.

And despite having recently said she was unhappy with the progress in the case against the two men, Carla del Ponte told a news conference that she had new reasons for optimism.

The war crimes prosecutor, who is in Bosnia for meetings with the families of people missing after the massacre at Srebrenica, would not be drawn further on the matter.

Mass grave
Cerska mass grave near Srebrenica
More than 7,000 people are still missing, feared dead after the fall of Srebrenica to Bosnian Serb forces in 1995.

The mothers of some of the victims of the Srebrenica massacre also met Mrs del Ponte, staging a silent demonstration outside the war crimes tribunal's offices in Sarajevo.


At the news conference in the city, Carla del Ponte also rejected the suggestion by the UN special envoy on human rights, Jiri Dienstbier that Serb President Slobodan Milosevic should be offered immunity from prosecution for war crimes in return for standing down from power.

She said that was a matter for the prosecutor to decide and there was no judicial reason to withdraw the indictment against Mr Milosevic.

Carla del Ponte
Carla del Ponte wants to see some arrests
She added that the tribunal was investigating further charges against him relating to the wars in both Bosnia and Croatia, with an indictment likely to be issued later this year.

The Bosnian Serb wartime leader, Radovan Karadzic, and the then commander of the Bosnian Serb army, General Ratko Mladic, have been charged with genocide in connection with the Srebrenica massacre.

Both are still at large.

Public appearance

Mr Karadzic was reported to have been seen drinking coffee in the Sarajevo suburbs only a few weeks ago, but the policy of Nato-led stabilisation force S-For is that it will only make an arrest if its forces encounter an indicted war criminal in the course of their duties.

Mrs del Ponte is meeting most of the main international figures in Bosnia, including the high representative and the head of the United Nations mission, Jacques Klein, himself a vocal critic over the failure to arrest Mr Karadzic.

The United States has posted a $5m reward for information leading to the arrest of Mr Karadzic or General Mladic. And Bill Clinton, who ends his term as US President in January, has said he would like to see Mr Karadzic arrested before he leaves office.

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See also:

11 Jul 00 | Europe
Bosnia remembers Srebrenica
11 Jul 00 | Europe
Call for Dutch Srebrenica apology
12 Jan 00 | Talking Point
Should we pursue crimes of the past?
14 Mar 00 | Europe
Flashback: Srebrenica 1995
13 Mar 00 | Europe
Srebrenica: A survivor's tale
13 Mar 00 | Europe
Bosnia massacre trial opens
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