Serbia should “step up probe into helpers network"

Serbian authorities' cooperation continued to fully meet expectations when it comes to providing access to documents and archives, Serge Brammertz says.

Source: Tanjug

The Hague Tribunal chief prosecutor said in a report that the Tribunal expected the country to intensify its efforts to investigate and prosecute individuals who assisted in harboring fugitives Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić.

"During a meeting with the Prosecutor in Belgrade on 22 May 2012, the Serbian war crimes prosecutor committed to conducting more in-depth investigations into the fugitive networks in the coming months. Serbia must intensify its efforts to address this matter," says Brammertz's report Tanjug had access to.

The Hague prosecutor pointed out that "Serbia had undertaken to provide the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) with comprehensive information shedding light on how Hague fugitives, including Mladić and Hadžić, evaded justice for so long prior to their capture," and "has also expressly undertaken to investigate and prosecute individuals who assisted in harboring the fugitives while at large."

"Despite these commitments, during the reporting period, no visible results have been registered and little information was provided to the OTP," Brammertz stressed.

As of 14 May, the OTP sent 59 requests for assistance to Serbia and the Serbian authorities responded “promptly and adequately”, according to him.

“Serbian authorities continued to adequately facilitate the OTP's access to witnesses, including their appearance before the Hague Tribunal,” Brammertz noted.

Summonses were served on time, court orders were executed and witness interviews were facilitated, reads the report.

"The relevant judicial and law enforcement bodies, including the War Crimes Prosecution, reacted promptly and professionally to requests from the OTP," adds the report.

Brammertz notes that Serbia's National Council for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal"continued to play a central role in maintaining this positive state of affairs."

"Its efforts to coordinate the work of different government bodies handling the OTP's requests for assistance have improved Serbia's capacity to handle urgent requests," reads the report.

"In the months to come, the Hague Tribunal will face a tight case schedule that will require the continuation of present cooperation levels. The OTP expects the Serbian authorities to maintain their prompt approach to requests for assistance, which is crucial for the successful, timely and efficient discharge of justice," concludes the report.


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