Yugoslavia: Skupstine passed law on cooperation with Hague Tribunal

The upper chamber of Yugoslavian parliament passed a law on cooperation with the Hague Tribunal. News agencies report that the preparation to deliver the wanted to the tribunal may start as soon as in ten days. Before the discussion in Skupstine, the law was unanimously passed by the Yugoslavian government.

Ex-Vice-premier of Yugoslavia Nikola Sainovic, Former Serbian Interior Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic, Former Yugoslav Defense Minister Dragoljub Ojdanic, and Serbian President Milan Milutinovic (he still enjoys immunity) are on the list of people subject to delivery to the tribunal. The list on the whole consists of 20 Yugoslavs accused of war crimes. In addition, the Hague prosecutors will gain access to archives and witnesses that are required for investigation, Vremya Novostei, a Russian newspaper reports.

The adoption of the law was due to the fact that the Montenegro Socialist People’s Party, as Serbian Minister for Justice said, “had changed its original position when it objected to delivery of Yugoslavian citizens to the tribunal.” The Montenegro party suggested amendments to be introduced to the bill at the concluding stage, and, later, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and other officials approved of the suggested amendments. The plan was then completed.

Now, according to the final variant of the law, people faced with charges are to be presented to the Yugoslavian Ministry for Justice by the tribunal and can be delivered to Hague. All new charges that are to come will be considered by national courts only.

Yugoslav President Voislav Kostunica believes that “the parliamentary decision may split Yugoslavia's society into two parts, but, still, Yugoslavia should be a European country observing international laws.”

Unprecedented pressure exerted by the USA, the Council of Europe, and different political and financial organizations on Belgrade made for the adoption of the law. Spokesman for the US Department of State Pierre Prosper visited Belgrade on April 5, and he made the ultimatum that Yugoslavia would face very large problems unless complete cooperation with the Hague Tribunal is established. Earlier, on April 2, the US State Department announced that it would not grant financial aid to the Yugoslavian government (tens of millions of dollars appropriated from the US Federal Budget) and would not support Yugoslavia in the establishment of a dialogue with international financial organizations. Yugoslavia has not yet achieved considerable progress in cooperation with the Hague Tribunal on the grounds that it considers it “to be untimely as of today.” At the same time, the State Department says that a decision concerning the recommencement of the financing that has been frozen can be made any time; the USA can wait several more days.

The Council of Europe believes that Yugoslavia can be admitted to the organization only when total cooperation with the tribunal is established and Belgrade introduces civil control over the army, security services, and police. Yugoslavian Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic, as cited by RIA Novosti, stated that, after the adoption of the law on cooperation with the Tribunal, a decree on civil control is to be approved as well.

Sergey Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru

Photo by Srpska politika

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/04/11/39574.html

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