NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has called for Serbia to fulfil its responsibilities against the International Crime Tribunal of Former Yugoslavia (ICYT). Having met with high level Serbian officials, de Hoop Scheffer, said this was an important step in European-Atlantic integration. In a summit held in Riga last November by the alliance, Serbia had been invited to join the Cooperation for Peace program. According to De Hoop Scheffer, this program could be seen as a big step taken for Serbia to enter the 26-member pact. However the country will still have to try the war criminals. NATO President, having met with Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovich, talked to AP saying: “We didn’t forget about this issue. That is my main statement.” ICTY wants the return of 6 war criminals at large. Heading the list is former Bosnian Serbian commander Ratko Mladic who is believed to be in Serbia and the former leader of Bosnia at the time of the war with the Serbians, Radovan Karadzic. Both are suspects in their roles for the 1995 Srebrenica genocide and the 43 month long Sarajevo siege. Both are charged with genocide. De Hoop Scheffer, said NATO was a very important reason for the handing over of war criminals. The official went onto say “Their attitude should be to hand over the criminals as soon as possible. Hopefully today rather than tomorrow.” NATO’s another concern to discuss with President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica was the eventual status of Kosovo. De Hoop Scheffer' visit to Belgrade came two days before the UN summit on the matter in Vienna. Draskovic and Serbians who would attend the status talks will be lead by Tadic and Kostunica. De Hoop Scheffer, said he hopes that the meeting on Saturday will be positive and will pave the way for an eventual Security Council decision on Kosovo. The official also promised that they would continue to protect the lives of the 16 thousand living in Kosovo. Speaking to the media in Belgrade, the NATO President said “I promise to you that NATO will do what it has been doing for a long time and that is the protection of the lives of civilians under any circumstance.” He added: "NATO will not abandon its responsibilities.” Karadzic and Mladic are not in Bosnia… NATO' Bosnia Herzegovina Command Commander General Richard Wightman, in his speech to the Dnevni Avaz newspaper’s March 10th issue of Saturday, said the criminals at large Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic were not in Bosnia. Wightman, said according to information provided, the two are probably in Belgrade. Wightman, speaking about the terrorism threat to Bosnia and other security issues, underlined that their attempts were directed at those involved in terrorism and those aiding the war criminals. NATO Command Commander, also reviewed the developments in the defence reforms in Bosnia. The General congratulated Bosnia for joining the Cooperation for Peace Program and said he hoped Bosnia would soon join the Alliance fully. Previously, EUFOR Commander General Gian Marco Chiarini, had said EUFOR had no intelligence to say that Radovan Karadzich was in Bosnia. Nazvisna Novine Magazine printed in Banja Luka, on November 27th 2006 said that Chiarini had received a lot of intelligence as to the whereabouts of Karadzic but none of them had turned up any leads. USA; “Hand over the criminals” In the meantime, USA’s war criminals ambassador, on January 2nd 2007 declared that once captured, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic would be handed over to justice. According to Clint Williamson, if the duo is caught before 2010, they will be tried at the ICJ where the UN will have their cases open. The ambassador added that if they are caught after this date, they would have to find another international body to try them. According to the current schedule, the criminals have to be tried by 2008 and leave room until 2010 for appeals. Williamson said “The only thing unacceptable for the USA would be to have them be tried in a local court in Belgrade.” Serbians know where the criminals are… In the previous November, a group tried for aiding Serbian commander Ratko Mladich get away, told the court on November 28th that 500 people of the high levels of the security forces of Serbia knew where Mladich was hiding. Retired Liuetenant of Yugoslavia Srboljub Nikolich, told the court that the deserter had lived in the barracks where he was also captured by the Serbs in May 200. Another person to know about the Topcider barracks is the current deputy Prime Minister Aco Tomich.
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