Federal Republic of Yugoslavia : Amnesty International welcomes Milosevic's transfer to The Hague

'This is the most significant step so far taken by the government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) towards ending the impunity which has been enjoyed for too long by senior political figures in the FRY suspected of responsibility for massive violations of international law', said the organisation today.

Amnesty International now urges the authorities in the FRY to take further steps towards full cooperation with the Tribunal by arresting and transferring all publicly and secretly indicted suspects currently living in the Federal Republic to the custody of the Tribunal. The organisation also reminded other states of their obligations to similarly arrest and transfer suspects indicted by the Tribunal believed be at large on their territory.

Under the UN Security Council Resolution which established the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, all states are obliged to surrender a person indicted by the Tribunal.

Background

Slobodan Milosevic has been in custody in Serbia under investigation for crimes including corruption and abuse of power since his arrest on 1 April 2001.

The former president was indicted with four other people who are former government officials on 24 May 1999 on charges of crimes against humanity and violations of the law and customs of war committed in Kosovo by Serbian and FRY forces acting under their command, with their encouragement and with their support. Co-indicted with the former president are Milan Milutunovic, President of Serbia until 25 January 2001, Nikola Sainovic, former Deputy Prime Minister, Dragoljub Odjanic, former Yugoslav Army Chief of Staff and Vlajko Stojilkovic, former Serbian Minister of Internal Affairs.

Amnesty International is concerned that many people indicted by the Tribunal for war crimes in Bosnia- Herzegovina and Croatia remain at liberty in the FRY including the so- called Vukovar Three -indicted for the mass killings of at least 200 people taken from Vukovar hospital; General Ratko Mladic - (indicted for genocide); and Predrag and Nenad Banovic, accused of crimes committed in the Keraterm detention camp.

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