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PES welcomes Serbia’s detention of war criminal Mladić

Date

27 May 2011

Sections

Global Europe

War criminal Ratko Mladić has been arrested in the province of Vojvodina, in northern Serbia today. Both Mladic and Radovan Karadžić, his political master, were indicted by UN war crimes tribunal for war crimes in 1995. Mladić was accused of genocide and other crimes against humanity - including the massacre of at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys from the town of Srebrenica in 1995. Along with Mr Karadzic, he became a symbol of the Serb campaign of ethnic cleansing of Croats and Muslims and was one of the most wanted suspects from the Bosnia conflict.

PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen stated that: “The arrest of Mladić is a great success and a historical moment - for Serbia and for the reconciliation process of the whole Western Balkans region. We would like to congratulate our friend Boris Tadic, who has always been a firm supporter of co-operation with the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia).

Kristian Vigenin, Chair of the PES Task Force on Western Balkan Enlargement, added: “We believe that the efforts of the progressive government led by President Tadic to detain Mladić, which have led to today’s success, have opened the doors to EU membership for Serbia. The PES continues to stand firmly behind the country and reaffirms its solidarity with and support for a swift accession of Serbia to the EU.”

Background:

Serbia is a potential candidate country for EU accession following the Thessaloniki European Council of June 2003. On 29 April 2008, the EU and Serbia signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). In December 2009 Serbia formally submitted its application to join the EU. On 14 June 2010 the country came a step closer in its way toward EU membership, following a decision by the EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs to start the ratification process of the SAA.

Commissioner Štefan Füle visited Serbia on 29 March where he met with political leaders and addressed the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. After his trip to the region he said that it is in the interest of the EU to see Serbia as a good news story for enlargement in 2011. Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (visiting Serbia today), expects Ratko Mladic to be transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia without delay. She stated that full cooperation with the ICTY remains essential on Serbia's path toward EU membership.

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For further information please contact Brian Synnott on +32 474 98 96 75 (brian.synnott@pes.org)

The PES brings together 33 socialist, social democratic, labour and progressive parties in the European Union and Norway, a parliamentary group in the European Parliament (184 MEPs) and in the Committee of the Regions (247 members) - plus observer and associate parties and organizations from all over Europe. ECOSY and PES Women are respectively the Youth and the Women's organizations of the PES.
 

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