The EU Pressures Serbia to Find Mladic
The U.S. media have done a decent job covering Serbia’s admission that hard-liners in its military are hiding war-crimes suspect General Ratko Mladic, wanted by the ICTY for allegedly orchestrating the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys from Srebrenica. There has been relatively little coverage, however, of a particularly interesting aspect of the story: the European Union’s threat to suspend talks with
This is the second time the EU has used the possibility of membership to coerce a reluctant state to get serious about apprehending one of its war criminals. A similar strategy motivated
The EU’s willingness to connect EU membership to cooperation with the ICTY is a very positive sign for international criminal law. In the aftermath of internal armed conflicts, tribunals such as the ICTY, ICTR, and ICC depend upon the cooperation of the war-torn state to identify, locate, and apprehend individuals responsible for international crimes. As the Serbian and Croatian examples indicate, however, such cooperation is rarely forthcoming – given that the perpetrators are often (if not usually) government officials or members of the military themselves, the state rarely has any incentive to do so. That’s where the EU comes in: to provide the incentive that is otherwise lacking. With EU membership – and the vast economic and political benefits that comes with it – potentially hanging in the balance, even the most reticent state has to think twice about stonewalling an international criminal tribunal.