Bosnian Serbs' decision to cooperate with Tribunal - a major step forward

According to media reports, the files handed over to International Criminal Tribunal for the

former Yugoslavia contained 1,200 pages of documents and video and audio cassettes relating to 440

individuals suspected of having committed war crimes against Serbs between 1992-1995.

'This move is a major step forward in the relationship between the Bosnian Serb entity - the

Republika Srpska - and the Tribunal, following years during which the Republika Srpska has refused

to cooperate,' Amnesty International said.

'We now encourage the Bosnian Serb authorities to cooperate further with the Tribunal by

ensuring that all those Bosnian Serbs publicly indicted and remaining in the republic should be

arrested and transferred to the custody of the Tribunal.'

Until recently Republika Srpska had refused to establish a relationship with the Tribunal,

accusing the court of focusing on Bosnian Serb suspects and ignoring Muslim and Bosnian Croat

suspects. Amnesty International has for many years encouraged the Bosnian Serb entity to cooperate

with the Tribunal, through, for example, the transfer of information relating to crimes against Bosnian

Serbs.

Background

In recent months statements from Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik have hinted at a

possible change. In November 1999 Prime Minister Dodik called for the wartime Bosnian Serb

leader Radovan Karadic to hand himself over to the Tribunal, accusing of him of 'disturbing

democratisation and international perspectives' in the Republika Srpska. Prime Minister Dodik has

also stated that all those who 'killed people because of their different nationalities should be brought

to justice'.

The news came in the same week as French SFOR troops arrested the former speaker of the

Bosnian Serb parliament and past joint-president of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Momcilo Kraji nik, who

will make his first appearance before the Tribunal on Friday.

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