When EU leaders meet with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica this week, they should insist on Serbia’s full cooperation with the Yugoslav tribunal, Human Rights Watch said in a letter sent today. The EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), the Commissioner for Enlargement, and the President of the European Commission will meet Kostunica in Brussels on Wednesday, September 12, 2007.

In a letter to High Representative for the CFSP Javier Solana, Commissioner Olli Rehn, and Commission President José Manuel Barroso, Human Rights Watch asked them to make clear to Kostunica that full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) – including the arrest and transfer of Ratko Mladic – remains a condition for signing a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Serbia.

“As EU negotiations with Serbia near completion, this is the moment for Belgrade to arrest and surrender Ratko Mladic and other fugitives wanted by The Hague,” said Lotte Leicht, EU advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

In May 2006, the European Union broke off talks with Serbia over the Stabilization and Association Agreement, citing Serbia’s failure to ensure Mladic is arrested and handed over to the ICTY. In November, the European Commission emphasized that full cooperation is a precondition for resuming the talks. In February 2007, the International Court of Justice ruled that Serbia’s failure to transfer Mladic to the tribunal was a violation of the Genocide Convention, and it ordered Serbia to cooperate fully with the ICTY.

Brussels resumed talks last June after Belgrade cooperated in the arrest of Bosnian Serb general Zdravko Tolimir. Serbia also played a role in the arrest of its former police general Vlastimir Djordjevic later the same month. However, according to the tribunal’s prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, cooperation by Serbia has slowed in recent weeks.