[JURIST] Carla Del Ponte [BBC profile] Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] said Thursday that former Serbian general and indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST news archive] is still being shielded from authorities by the Serbian army he once commanded, and has not fled to Russia as alleged in a Wednesday Moscow Times report [text]. Del Ponte again cautioned Serbia against failing to deliver Mladic to the ICTY at the risk of forfeiting their bid to join the European Union, a consequence suggested last November [JURIST report] by the ICTY president. Del Ponte also said that she hopes to begin the trial against Mladic and eight other Serbian war criminals as early as July. On Wednesday, 500 Serbian police officers descended upon the town of Han Pijesak in an unsuccessful attempt to locate Mladic [JURIST report] or possibly Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case backgrounder], who has also been indicted on genocide charges by the ICTY. The UK Press Association has more.