AP is reporting comments made by Wolfgang Schomburg, a judge at the ICTY, in which he suggested that the EU's linkage between Serbia's association talks and the war-crimes question could be counterproductive. "It can certainly become counterproductive if a country perceives itself taken hostage because of one or two wanted people," he said in an interview. He also said that the Tribunal was there to judge individuals, not states.
These comments are so wrong at so many levels it's tough to decide where to start. At the most basic level, of course, it's entirely up to the EU to make this linkage (which is a tried and tested approach, not something new they just came up with) and frankly none of the ICTY's business. It's also highly tendentious to imply, as his reported statements seem to do, that the linkage somehow means that the ICTY is now running the risk of judging states not persons. (I'm open to the suggestion that this apparent implication is an artifact of the way the interview, which was made by Austria Press Agency, was reported by AP.) And if Serbia "perceives itself" taken hostage, that's, frankly, Serbia's problem -- perhaps it then shouldn't have applied for association with the EU, or indeed signed up at Dayton to the obligation of catching war criminals (sorry, "persons indicted for war crimes").
But perhaps the judge wasn't just airing his personal views? Perhaps his comments have to be seen in the context of recent statements by unnamed "sources close to EU diplomats" (whatever those may be -- waiters? Cleaning ladies?) reported by Politika to the effect that it was "not unrealistic" to expect a stabilization agreement to be concluded even with Mladic at large? Wouldn't be the first time that the EU went wobbly on Serbia. We shall know more in September.