Serbia has taken a step toward joining the European Union, while the EU warned that further progress would depend on arresting the remaining war-crimes suspects still at large.
The Dutch had ruled out further moves towards membership until Serbia captures former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic, the accused mastermind of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. But the Dutch gave in after the EU threatened to ram the decision through by majority vote. However, EU law guarantees the Netherlands a veto over further enlargement steps.
Unsurprisingly, The Netherlands has taken the EU’s hardest line on Serbia, stung by the failure of Dutch peacekeepers to prevent Mladic’s forces from slaughtering 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II.
Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic, who headed a breakaway Serb faction in Croatia, are the two last fugitives sought by war-crimes prosecutors in The Hague.
We hope this will provide the necessary motivation for Serbia to finally bring these two to trial.
If they don’t, we also hope The Netherlands does not hesitate to use its power of veto.