The chief UN war crimes prosecutor urged the UN Security Council to pressure Serbia and Bosnia to arrest fugitive leaders from the Bosnian war, saying it was clear after 11 years that neither country was willing to do so.
Successive Serbian and Bosnian governments have lacked the political will to arrest wartime political leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief, General Ratko Mladic, Carla Del Ponte said.
"My assessment remains that the Serbian government could easily arrest Ratko Mladic should the authorities want to do it," Del Ponte told the Security Council on Friday. "It is simply a question of political will."
UN prosecutors believe Mladic is hiding in Serbia with the help of hardliners in the police and military, as well as Serb loyalists.
Del Ponte also said Bosnia's government institutions are not working effectively and officials in the Bosnian Serb-controlled region of the country have not shown "a robust willingness" to arrest Karadzic, who is most likely there along with another wanted fugitive, Stojan Zupljanin.
"Strong messages must be passed to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina so that they finally deliver the fugitives from justice, especially Karadzic and Mladic," she said.
The two leaders are accused of orchestrating the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim boys and men from Srebrenica and laying siege to Sarajevo. Zupljanin was the wartime commander of Bosnian Serb police in Banja Luka.
Del Ponte told the council that most of the detailed information she passed to top Serbian officials in 2001 and 2002 was accurate.
"But these officials, some of whom still hold key positions today, were simply pretending my information was wrong," she said.
In 2002, she said, Serbia's then-president Milan Milutinovic signed a decision on Mladic's retirement from the military.
"Therefore, despite his denials at the time, he knew perfectly well that Mladic was sheltered by the army as I was telling him," Del Ponte said.
Del Ponte called on the council to state whether it believes the tribunal should stay open until Karadzic and Mladic are tried in The Hague.
"This is very important for the tens of thousands of victims who have placed their hope in the justice provided by the United Nations," Del Ponte said.