Statement by President Meron Following Meeting with Prime Minister Kostunica
Please find below the full text of the President's remarks after his meeting with Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica today.
I am happy, before concluding my term as President of the ICTY, to have had another opportunity to come here to Belgrade for a frank discussion with Prime Minister Kostunica about outstanding matters between the Government of Serbia and the Tribunal.
I am of course aware that we have seen considerable progress in cooperation between the authorities here in Belgrade and the ICTY in the last year, including the transfer to The Hague of 13 persons from the territory of Serbia and Montenegro.
However, the international community is truly impatient about the endless delays in the fulfillment by Serbia of its remaining international obligations, especially now that a decision has been taken by the European Union authorizing the beginning of negotiations on a Stabilization and Association Agreement for Serbia and Montenegro.
This is especially so regarding the failure to deliver Ratko Mladic to the ICTY and the lack of visible and full support for efforts to capture and transfer Radovan Karadzic, as well as the other ICTY fugitives who are within the reach of the authorities in Belgrade. I would note that it has now been over six months since an accused has been transferred from Serbia and Montenegro to the Tribunal.
The arrival in The Hague of Mladic, Karadzic and the other fugitives are not only required by the international community as essential for the dispensation of justice; they are equally essential for the advancement of the interests of Serbia and Montenegro.
This would also represent a fulfillment of Serbia's moral obligation to deliver up for justice persons who have been indicted of egregious crimes which stand in stark contrast to the heroic traditions of the Serbian people.
It would be a tragedy if the momentum already gained and the progress already made would come to a stop and thus adversely affect progress in the relations between Serbia and Montenegro, the European Union, Partnership for Peace and the international community.
The Prime Minister reiterated to me today in unequivocal terms the recognition by Serbia of its legal obligations. I'm grateful for this and trust his commitment, in fact he spoke of his 100 per cent commitment, but must make it clear once more that the record of cooperation will be assessed not by words and rhetoric, but by acts and results.