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Del Ponte presses for Milosevic, Mladic, Karadzic arrests

The Swiss head of the United Nations war crimes tribunal, Carla del Ponte, has said that the Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic, and the former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, cannot be allowed to evade international justice any longer.

The Swiss head of the United Nations war crimes tribunal, Carla del Ponte, has said that the Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic, cannot be allowed to evade international justice any longer. She said it was a priority for the tribunal to arrest him, along with the former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, and his wartime military commander, Radko Mladic.

Del Ponte was speaking at a conference at the University of Fribourg. In her speech, she said the UN court would press Nato-led forces in Bosnia to arraign Karadzic because "it will be impossible for a lasting peace to be achieved in Bosnia-Herzegovina" unless he is brought to trial.

Milosevic was indicted in connection with atrocities committed last year against ethnic Albanians in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo. Prosecutors then said his indictment could later be broadened to include events in Croatia and Bosnia.

"I deplore the fact that, 10 months after the publication of his indictment, he is still in power, evading international justice. (...) This situation must not continue and we must not relax our efforts to persuade and convince," del Ponte said.

Nato-led forces in Bosnia have so far been wary of seeking out Karadzic and Mladic, for fear of retributions from the Serbs. But, last week's arrest of one of Karadzic's closest aides, Momcilo Krajisnik, is -- according to del Ponte -- a "significant sign of what can be done".

The former Swiss federal prosecutor was appointed to the post of chief prosecutor of the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia eight months ago.

swissinfo and agencies

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