By Bojana Milovanovic
Karadzic, Mladic and Hadzic may finally be in The Hague, but only after eluding authorities for years. The Serbian government is launching a probe aimed at finding out why.
Serge Brammertz, the ICTY’s chief prosecutor, would like to know too. During his visit to Belgrade last week, he underscored the importance of bringing the question to light.
“The people who had an arrest warrant issued for them avoided justice for years. Serbia was obligated, after issuing said warrants, to arrest those people and we want to know who is responsible for that not happening sooner,” he said.
Serbia’s Deputy War Crimes Prosecutor Bruno Vekaric told SETimes that a thorough investigation of the matter is already under way and is expected to yield results.
“The fugitives’ movements during the years spent in hiding are being analysed along with the activities of their aides, regardless of whether they are from within or outside the system,” Vekaric said.
He explained he could not reveal any details about the investigation, but would inform the public if any arrests are made.
Political analyst Dejan Vuk Stankovic is convinced the fugitives must have had direct or indirect assistance from Serbian authorities.
“It is certain that the network of aides communicated with sections of the state services,” Stankovic told SETimes.
The success of the investigation depends on the available evidence, he said, warning that many will try to destroy it or cover it up.
President Boris Tadic says he expects concrete results.
“It is very important to create a clear picture of who helped them hide — if they were hiding — so that the international community and the legal order can be solidified in the future, in the belief that similar cases can be resolved efficiently in line with the legal system,” Tadic said.
Exposing the networks is in Serbia’s interest, said the chief of the country’s Office for Co-operation with the ICTY, Dusan Ignjatovic.
“This is a job for our state prosecution and courts and it is in Serbia’s interest to conduct that investigation thoroughly and close this final chapter,” he told SETimes.