Global Policy Forum

UN War Crimes Tribunal Indicts Its


Agence France Presse
March 15, 2005

The UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Tuesday issued its last charge against the main offenders from the Balkan wars, as its most wanted suspects remain at large 12 years after its creation. A spokeswoman for Carla Del Ponte, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia's chief prosecutor, said the indictment against former Macedonian interior minister Ljube Boskovski and his former bodyguard Johan Tarculovski, for the murders of Albanian civilians during the 2001 Macedonia conflict, would be the court's last. "It is our last indictment," the spokeswoman Florence Hartmann said.

The ICTY, set up in February 1993 by the United Nations, has charged more than 120 suspects, including top politicians and army officers, from the former Yugoslavia for war crimes and human rights violations during the wars that tore the country apart in the 1990s. It is now under pressure to wrap up all trials by 2008 and appeals by 2010. It has netted some big fish, including former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, charged with fomenting the decade of violence in the Balkans, but his trial has been dragging on since 2002.

And despite a flurry of surrenders and handovers over the recent days as former Yugoslav republics seek to curry favour with the expanding European Union, 17 of those indicted have still not turned themselves in to The Hague or been arrested. They include the two most wanted fugitives from the Balkan conflicts, former Bosnian Serb political and military leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, accused of genocide for the 1995 massacre of Muslims in the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica. They remain at large with the help of Serb nationalists throughout the region.

On Tuesday it also emerged that the EU was set to delay the planned start of EU entry talks with Croatia this week because Zagreb is not helping fully in the hunt for a key war crimes suspect, retired general Ante Gotovina. Some 200,000 people were killed in the ethnic conflicts, which spanned the decade, spreading quickly from one republic to another, from Croatia (1991-1995), to Bosnia (1992-1995), to Kosovo (1998-1999). The Balkans wars saw the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II. A final episode of fighting broke out between the government of Macedonia and Albanian rebels in 2001.

Boskovski, who became the last person indicted, is currently being held in a jail in Croatia, where he was arrested last August. Croatian authorities said the indictment had been received and have promised to hand over Boskovski, who has both Croatian and Macedonian citizenship, after the request has been processed. "In case he does not appeal he could be extradited to The Hague within the next 48 hours."justice ministry spokeswoman Vesna Dovranic told AFP.

Despite the court deadline to wrap up its work, its president US judge Theodor Meron, said Tuesday the tribunal would stay open until Karadzic and Mladic are brought to justice. Meron insisted on the court's determination to try Karadzic and Mladic in a meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica in Belgrade, the Serbian government said in a statement released after the talks.

More Information on International Justice
More International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia Articles
More Information on the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia
More Information on Radovan Karadzic
More Information on Ratko Mladic


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