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South Eastern Europe

EU, UN, US among those welcoming Mladić arrest

Author: The Sofia Echo staff Date: Thu, May 26 2011 2441 Views
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The European Union, United Nations and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) are among those to have welcomed Serbia’s May 26 arrest of Ratko Mladić and have called for his transfer to the court in The Hague as soon as possible.
The arrest of Mladić was an important step forward for the EU, for Serbia, "but most of all for the rule of law in Serbia itself," European Commission President Jose Barroso said.
"The families of his countless victims deserve justice," Barroso said.
Barroso said that Mladić must be transferred to ICTY without delay and said that full co-operation with the tribunal remained essential for Serbia's EU prospects.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who on May 26 and 27 is visiting Serbia and Kosovo, strongly welcomed the arrest of Mladić. Like Barroso, she said that Mladić should be transferred to the ICTY without delay.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the arrest of Mladić was "an historic day for international justice".
"This arrest marks an important step in our collective fight against impunity as well as for the work of the ICTY. I commend the efforts of (Serbian) president (Boris) Tadic and of the Serbian government," Ban said.
Croatian prime minister Jadranka Kosor said that the arrest was "good news for all of us…good news in the context of reaching eventual justice, stability and final peace in this part of the world".
She also urged the arrest of another fugitive war crimes suspect, Goran Hadzic.
The United States welcomed the Mladić arrest, while UK foreign secretary William Hague said that the arrest was "a historic moment for a region that was torn apart by the appalling wars of the 1990s".
"Mladić stands accused of terrible crimes committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina and it is right that he will now be brought to face international justice. Today our thoughts are with the relatives of those killed during the siege of Sarajevo and genocide in Srebrenica," Hague said.
"We congratulate the Serbian authorities on this arrest, which is evidence of the Serbian government’s commitment to co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia," he said.
"We now look forward to the rapid transfer of Rakto Mladić to The Hague so that the charges against him can be heard in an international court of law. Our sympathies are with all those who lost loved ones during those conflicts. Today should mark the beginning of a new chapter for the countries of Western Balkans," Hague said.

Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the arrest "finally offers a chance for justice to be done", the Voice of America reported.
ICTY chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz welcomed the arrest of Mladić, who was indicted by the tribunal on July 25 1995 and has been a fugitive from justice for almost 16 years.
"I welcome the arrest of Ratko Mladić today in Serbia," Brammertz said.
"We await arrangements for his transfer to The Hague where he will stand trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
"We recognise the work done by the Serbian authorities, specifically the National Security Council and Serbia’s Action Team, in apprehending Ratko Mladić," Brammertz said.

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek welcomed the arrest.

"The arrest is good news for Serbia, for the stability of the region and gives new impetus to Serbia's EU accession process."

"His arrest is convincing proof of Serbia's efforts and co-operation with the ICTY," Buzek said.

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