Carla Del Ponte expects Karadzic and Mladic to arrive in The Hague by the end of the year and urges Croatia to make a more decisive effort to arrest Gotovina

Radovan Karadzic i Ratko MladicRadovan Karadzic i Ratko Mladic

Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic must arrive in The Hague by the end of the year; otherwise the timing for the completion of Tribunal's work will have to be amended, Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said to the press in Berne, after taking part in a peace and human rights conference.

Del Ponte is "very disappointed" that Serbia did not live up to its commitment to deliver Mladic before the 10th anniversary of the massacre in Srebrenica in July. "He seems to continue to receive a strong support of the Army," Del Ponte adds. "Mladic's transfer is a matter of political will and I count on Prime Minister Kostunica to deliver him as soon as possible… The policy of seeking exclusively voluntary surrenders has obviously reached its limits." As for Karadzic's arrest, Chief Prosecutor is trying to prompt a much closer relationship between the authorities in Republika Srpska and Serbia and Montenegro.

She adds that the success or failure of the Tribunal will, to a certain extent, depend on Karadzic and Mladic. "Impunity for them means a huge blow for the international community and international justice."

As for Zagreb's commitment to search for and arrest accused Ante Gotovina, Del Ponte says that “there was not enough progress”. “The implementation of the Action Plan, presented by Croatia in April, has been too slow and lacked resolve," Del Ponte says. According to indications she has, Gotovina is still "in the region."

The arrest of Hrvoje Petrac yesterday was described as "a positive development" by the prosecutor. A Croatian court has convicted him in absentia because of his criminal activities. He has also been tied with financing Gotovina's continued flight. She adds that Croatia did not act alone, but that this was the fruit of a successful cooperation of several countries, just as when Milan Lukic was arrested in Argentina.

“Croatia now has an opportunity to finally penetrate the real network that protects Gotovina. We will follow very closely Croatia’s actions in the coming weeks," the prosecutor says, urging Croatia to work more "aggressively" in its efforts to bring Gotovina to The Hague.

“I will never request the indictment against Gotovina to be withdrawn and there is no way he can be tried anywhere but in The Hague… Several Security Council member-states and the EU said that the Tribunal must not close before Karadzic, Mladic and Gotovina are tried there," Del Ponte says.