According to diplomatic cables published on Wikileaks, the Serbian government has told the US government that Russia may be withholding vital information about the whereabouts of the fugitive Bosnian Serb general and genocide suspect, Ratko Mladić, who faces war crimes charges in The Hague.
Serbian presidential adviser Miki Rakić, who heads Serbia’s intelligence-based Mladić manhunt, has detailed specific contacts between Mladić associates and Russian diplomats, as well as ‘phone calls and trips to Russia by Mladić associates’.
Although prosecutors in The Hague believe Mladić to be in Belgrade, Serbian officials say they have had no firm information on his whereabouts since 2006.
Unconfirmed reports have suggested that Mladić may have found sanctuary in Russia as pressure grew on Serbia to arrest him.
The Russian authorities have been sheltering several of the most wanted people in Serbia for years. Mladić and Goran Hadžić, a leader of Croatian Serbs during the 1991-95 war, are the last Serbian war crimes suspects wanted by the international tribunal in The Hague. Hadžić has also been reported to be in Russia.
Mirjana Marković, the widow of the late Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosević, and her son, Marko Milosević, have both been protected in Russia for years despite being sought by Belgrade on fraud and embezzlement charges and in connection with the murder of a Serbian journalist. An Interpol arrest warrant for Marko has been ignored by the Russians.
If Russia wants to be respected on the international arena, it must be prepared to cooperate on the prosecution of war crimes suspects and be prepared to hand them over to be tried in international courts.