Balkan Cooperation on War Crimes Issues

Publication Date: July 2008

Publisher: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service


Research Area:



In early May 2006, assessments of insufficient Serbian cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) led the European Union (EU) to suspend association talks with Serbia. Later that month, the U.S. Secretary of State withheld certification of full Serbian cooperation with ICTY, leading to a partial suspension of U.S. bilateral assistance to Serbia. As of mid-June 2006, six indicted suspects remained at large, including wartime Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic. Former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, whose lengthy trial in The Hague was nearing completion, died of a heart attack on March 11, while in custody. From late 2004 through early 2005, a combination of intensified international pressure and deadlines associated with Euro-Atlantic integration processes prompted a spate of transfers of indicted persons to the tribunal. Full cooperation with ICTY is a key prerequisite to further progress toward a shared long-term goal for the western Balkan countries: closer association with and eventual membership in the European Union and NATO. This report will be updated as events warrant. See also CRS Report RS21686, Conditions on U.S. Aid to Serbia, by Steven Woehrel.