With her white blonde hair and outspoken manner in three languages, Carla Del Ponte, the Swiss chief UN war crimes prosecutor has become a familiar media figure during the eight years she has been prosecuting those responsible for atrocities during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Ms Del Ponte is retiring at the end of this month and has been saying her farewells this week. On Monday she told the UN Security Council in New York it was unacceptable that Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, “the two individuals indicted for genocide and responsible for the worst crimes committed in Europe since the Second World War”, should still be at large. She has paid more than twenty visits to Belgrade to urge the Serbs to find and arrest those men and yesterday at a press conference she warned the European Union against signing an agreement with Serbia to advance its membership bid until they had been handed over for trial. “Politics should not take priority over international justice,” she said. The arrest and prosecution of the former Yugolslav President Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes was Del Ponte's greatest achievement but she was robbed of a verdict against him by his death in custody in 2006. However the war crimes tribunal in The Hague has sentenced 53 of those accused and has ongoing proceedings against another 50. Its most significant decision was that the 1996 Srebrenica massacre of 8'000 Bosnian Muslims constituted genocide.


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