Serbia. After 16 years of escape from international
justice, former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladić was
arrested in May. According to
Countryaah official site, Serbian special police found Mladić in a
relative's house in the province of Vojvodina. Within a few
days, he was transferred to the War Criminal Tribunal in The
Hague. Before the court, he rejected all allegations of,
among other things, genocide and crimes against humanity
during the 1990s war in Bosnia.
In July, Goran Hadžić was also arrested in a village
north of Belgrade when he tried to sell a stolen piece of
art by Modigliani. Hadžić was the last to be apprehended by
the 161 people charged by the Hague Tribunal. He was also
extradited to face trial for war crimes, in his case in the
Serbian Extermination Republic of Krajina in Croatia.
The arrests were a decisive step in approaching the EU.
In October, the European Commission issued a clear sign for
Serbia as a candidate country. The EU praised legal reforms
implemented, with enhanced human rights protection and an
alignment with EU rules.
At the same time, membership negotiations seemed distant
as long as Serbia did not normalize relations with Kosovo.
The Belgrade government maintained that it would never
recognize the independence of the former Serbian province.
The situation was tense, especially south of the border
where Kosovo Serbs protested against attempts to staff the
border with Kosovo's own police. A planned Pride festival in
Belgrade in September was banned with reference to public
safety. The concern was great for a repeat of the violence
that characterized the festival last year. The organizers
accused the authorities of succumbing to right-wing violent
perpetrators. In the politically divisive Serbia, many were
excited about the opportunity to jointly pay tribute to
Serbian tennis professional Novak Đoković, who won three
Grand Slam titles during the year and was ranked as the
world's best tennis player.