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U.N. office: Karadzic in Belgrade

Radovan Karadzic, wanted by a U.N. war crimes tribunal for charges including genocide, remains at large.
Radovan Karadzic, wanted by a U.N. war crimes tribunal for charges including genocide, remains at large.

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (CNN) -- Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic is living in Belgrade, United Nations war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte has said.

She added that her office's relations with Serbia were frozen as a result.

The prosecutors's spokesman Florence Hartmann told CNN the information had been received from "a very reliable source."

She said that there already had been information from the same source that wanted Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic was in Serbia -- bringing to about 15 the number of fugitives there in all.

There have been recent searches in Bosnia for Karadzic -- wanted by a U.N. war crimes tribunal for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre -- which caused him to cross the border into Serbia, Hartmann said.

"He moved out from Bosnia because the international community was searching for him very efficiently [in Bosnia].

"We hope that the same pressure will move to Belgrade to get an arrest because NATO can't go to Serbia to do it."

She said Belgrade authorities would not allow NATO troops to search for Karadzic. The U.N. office had had "no cooperation or support" from the Serb authorities and it was now up to the international community to act to bring about their arrests.

"We hope somehow we will get this compliance by the Serbian authorities," she said.

Earlier U.S. Under Secretary for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, Alan Larson, told a business breakfast at the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgrade that a prosperous future for Serbia hung on political stability and cooperation with the Hague war crimes court.

Only then could U.S. boost economic ties, he said.

"It is essential that Serbia emerge from this period of political uncertainty with a clear, firm recommitment to this partnership," Larson said.

Del Ponte told Reuters: "I received just last week information from a credible source that even Karadzic is now in Belgrade. So Belgrade is now a safe haven for our fugitives ... Karadzic is now residing in Belgrade.

"So we have now both our most high level people responsible for the crimes committed, Mladic and Karadzic," in Serbia, she said.

"We must say that at this time cooperation is frozen," del Ponte added.

In 1995, a peace accord signed in Dayton, Ohio, ended the war between Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Serbs. The conflict was Europe's most deadly since World War II. More than 200,000 people died.

According to the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, 20 indicted suspects are still at large, including Karadzic, who has a $5 million reward posted on him, and his top general, Mladic. (Karadzic profile)

The U.N. tribunal indicted the two men for the massacre of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the eastern town of Srebrenica in 1995 and the siege of Sarajevo, in which more than 10,000 people died.

Karadzic remains popular among nationalist Serbs, especially in the east Bosnian region, which is still politically controlled by hardliners.

Human rights activists have criticized NATO for failing to capture Karadzic and Mladic.

In August 2003, NATO forces took up positions outside the home of Karadzic's daughter in the Bosnian Serb wartime stronghold of Pale.

The NATO force failed to find Mladic during a raid on his mother's house after she died in August 2003.

NATO force authorities had said they believed Karadzic was hiding somewhere in the Republic of Srpska, the Bosnian Serb territory within Bosnia-Herzegovina.


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