[JURIST] Chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website; JURIST news archive] Carla Del Ponte [official profile] challenged the European Union Friday to fund the war crimes court if UN monies runs dry before the ICTY is able to bring to trial the two most-wanted war criminals indicted by the court, former Bosnian Serb leaders Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case backgrounder; BBC profile]. The UN has requested that the ICTY, which has operated for 13 years and used over $300 million in UN money, begin all trials before 2008. Del Ponte said in the speech [transcript] in Helsinki:
If the United Nations is not willing anymore to fund our Tribunal so that it can complete successfully its mandate, the Europeans will have a tough dilemma: either to fill the gap and make sure the ICTY receives the necessary resources, or accept that, because of the lack of cooperation of Serbia and the opposition of Russia and China, thousands of Muslim victims in Europe will never see their legitimate needs for justice satisfied. Can the European Union tolerate that 2 persons accused of genocide are being sheltered by a candidate country? Can European accept that these alleged genocidaires may not face trial because there will be no court to try them? This would bear a severe blow at our European values, based on the rule of law. Unfortunately, they seem to be less and less shared in the post-9/11th world.Mladic, former head of the Bosnian Serb army, has escaped capture for years and his fugitive status has been a sticking point in Serbia's membership negotiations with the European Union [JURIST report; EU materials]. Mladic is believed to be hiding in Serbia and in June Del Ponte said she would ask the UN Security Council for direct authority to arrest Mladic and Karadzic [JURIST report], though she has apparently not done so. The US has cut off financial aid to Serbia [JURIST report] due to its failure to arrest Mladic. In August, Del Ponte said that Mladic should be on trial [JURIST report] along 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. AP has more.