BELGRADE, Serbia – Serbia has asked Interpol for help in locating Europe's most wanted war crimes fugitive, Ratko Mladic, indicating authorities believe the genocide suspect is no longer hiding in the Balkan country.
The request was made by Serbia's Interior Minister Ivica Dacic who visited the international police agency's headquarters in Lyon, France, on Tuesday, the state Tanjug news agency said Wednesday.
Interpol should determine whether Mladic "is in Serbia or in some other countries, members of Interpol," Tanjug quoted Dacic as saying. Interpol has 188 member countries.
Mladic is wanted by a U.N. war crimes tribunal for the massacre in 1995 of 8,000 Muslims from the Bosnian town of Srebrenica — the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II — and the three-year sniping and shelling siege of Sarajevo by his troops during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.
The European Union said last month that Serbia, a Balkan country that aspires to EU membership, must bring Mladic to justice if it wants to join.
The chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor for the former Yugoslavia, Serge Brammertz, this week for the first time left open the possibility that Mladic, on the run since he was indicted by the Netherlands-based court in 1995, may be hiding outside Serbia.
Brammertz, however, said in Belgrade Monday that Serbia remains responsible for Mladic's arrest and that the clues to hunting him down are in the Balkan state.
A Belgrade daily last week quoted a former close aide of Mladic as saying the ex-general is most probably hiding in Russia where he has a lot of support from hard-liners in the military. There was no official reaction from Russia or Serbia to the report.