[JURIST] A Belgrade court Wednesday began trial proceedings for ten Serbs charged with hiding former Bosnian Serb military chief and indicted war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and helping him evade prosecution by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. The proceedings will most likely remain closed to the public because of the government's ongoing search for Mladic. The suspects, including several former Bosnian Serb military officials, have been charged [JURIST report] with aiding Mladic and sheltering him in five apartments in Belgrade between June 2002 and January 2006 with the knowledge of his indictment for war crimes.
In late August, chief ICTY prosecutor Carla Del Ponte [official profile] called Belgrade's failure to arrest Mladic "inexcusable," saying he should be on trial with a group of seven Bosnian Serb military and paramilitary officers charged with massacring 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in 1995. Mladic's fugitive status has been a sticking point in Serbia's membership negotiations with the European Union [JURIST report; EU materials]. The former military leader is believed to be hiding in Serbia, prompting the US to cut off financial aid to Serbia [JURIST report] because of its failure to arrest him. AFP has more.