The Security Council today welcomed the arrests this week of two fugitives wanted by the United Nations tribunals set up to try those responsible for the worst crimes committed during the Balkans conflicts of the 1990s and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Ratko Mladic, the war-time leader of the Bosnian Serb forces, was arrest yesterday in Serbia after evading capture for almost 16 years. He is awaiting transfer to The Hague, where he will stand trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
He faces numerous charges, including genocide, extermination, murder and inflicting terror on civilians, particularly in connection with the massacre of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the supposedly “safe haven” of Srebrenica in July 1995 in one of the most notorious events of the Balkan wars.
Council members congratulated the Serbian authorities on the arrest, which is “a clear demonstration of cooperation from the Government of Serbia with the International Criminal Tribunal,” Ambassador Gérard Araud of France, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency this month, said in a statement to the press.
“The members of the Security Council welcome Serbia’s intention to ensure the swift transfer of Mladic to the Tribunal in The Hague,” he added.
They also shared the hope that the detention and transfer of Mr. Mladic “will help to bring the Western Balkans region closer to reconciliation and to their European perspective.”
In addition, Bernard Munyagishari, who is wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, was arrested on 25 May in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Mr. Araud said Council members congratulated the DRC authorities on the arrest and their cooperation with the ICTR, which was set up in the wake of the Rwandan genocide, during which an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed, often by machete, in little more than three months.
“The members of the Security Council reiterate their support for the search for the last fugitives from the ICTR and call on Member States to continue efforts to fight all forms of impunity in the Great Lakes region,” he said.