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Bosnia-Herzegovina: Del Ponte To Discuss UN Cooperation In Sarajevo

Sarajevo, 5 September 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Chief UN war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte is in Sarajevo today to discuss Bosnia's cooperation with the United Nations tribunal. Del Ponte is to meet today with members of Bosnia's collective presidency, as well as international officials. Del Ponte's spokeswoman said the chief prosecutor will discuss with Bosnian officials not only the surrender of war crimes suspects, but also access to information and witnesses for tribunal officials.

Yesterday in Belgrade, Del Ponte met with Serbian and Yugoslav officials and demanded that they hand over indicted Serb suspects. After meeting her, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic said that it is "in our common interest" that all culprits for war crimes committed in former Yugoslavia be punished.

Del Ponte said the tribunal's mandate has been extended from June 1999 to deal with atrocities that may have been committed after the war in Kosovo ended, particularly against Serbs.

The chief United Nations war crimes prosecutor said she has information that indicted Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic has been living in Yugoslavia.

Del Ponte also said Serbian officials had agreed to cooperate in capturing Mladic and transferring him to the tribunal at The Hague.

There was no immediate comment from the Serbian officials Del Ponte met with yesterday in Belgrade.

Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military commander, and former Bosnian Serb civilian chief Radovan Karadzic, are among the most prominent suspected war criminals sought by the international tribunal.

The outgoing commander of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia, U.S. General Michael Dodson, said Mladic and Karadzic sometimes make quick visits to Bosnia, but that the two men are difficult to catch. Dodson said their movements were restricted and that he believed they would eventually be captured.

"I have no doubt that these men will be brought to justice. It's getting more and more difficult for them to move, and life is getting more and more spartan for them."

The U.S. general also said he did not believe that the people who are helping Mladic and Karadzic were under the control of Bosnian Serb authorities.