28 August 2009The United Nations tribunal set up to try those responsible for atrocities committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s has once again called for the arrest of the two suspects who still remain at large. Officials from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), as well as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have repeatedly stressed the importance of bringing Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladić and the ethnic Serb politician Goran Hadžić to trial. “The failure to arrest the remaining two fugitives remains a grave concern,” the ICTY stated in its sixteenth annual report, which was made public today and covers the period from 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2009. Mr. Mladić faces numerous charges, including genocide, extermination, murder, persecutions, deportation, taking of hostages and inflicting terror on civilians.Mr. Hadžić is charged with murder, persecutions, torture, cruel treatment and other war crimes and crimes against humanity related to his role as president of a self-proclaimed breakaway state of rebel Serbs in southern Croatia during the early 1990s.The ICTY added that the apprehension of these two suspects is the “most critical aspect” of Serbia’s cooperation with the Tribunal, which is based in The Hague.Meanwhile, the Tribunal has concluded proceedings against 120 accused, out of 161 indicted. Appeals proceedings are ongoing for 12 people, while another 21 are currently on trial and four accused persons are at the pre-trial stage. As part of its completion strategy, 2009 is the last year of full trial activity before the Tribunal starts downsizing in 2010. The report cites the progress made in expediting the court’s work, with 86 cases now fully completed. It also noted cooperation between the Office of the ICTY Prosecutor and the authorities of the States of the former Yugoslavia in the area of domestic war crimes prosecutions.