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The last safe haven for war criminals.

The UN war crimes tribunal, branding the Bosnian Serb republic the last safe haven for war crimes suspects, yesterday pressed the Prime Minister of the enclave to take the first steps toward arresting fugitives.

Prime Minister Mladen Ivanic was meeting the chief war crimes prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, in The Hague, two days after the court scored its greatest victory so far when it arraigned former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.

Milosevic's arrest left two of the most wanted suspects, wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his senior military officer Ratko Mladic, still at large and believed to be in Republika Srpska, the autonomous Serb area of Bosnia based in Banja Luka.

So far, the republic has made no arrests, but Ivanic says his government has co-operated with the tribunal by making witnesses and documents available.

'Republika Srpska became the last safe haven for war crimes. We have more than 20 fugitives living there,' said Del Ponte's spokeswoman Florence Hartmann.

'The authorities in Banja Luka know where some of them are. They are in contact with Karadzic and Mladic,' Ms Hartmann said.

In the Netherlands, Ivanic denied he knew where the two fugitives were hiding or that he had any contact with them. But Ms Hartmann said Mladic was known to have travelled through the republic with an army escort.

'It is very important for the stability in the region that they are handed over to The Hague,' she said.

Meanwhile, Mira Markovic has been told that she can receive a visa to visit husband Milosovic who is currently being held in The Hague.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 6, 2001
Words:264
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