Government must avoid errors of the past

The humans rights organisation also highlighted the need to bring former President Slobodan Milosevic, (and the four other government officials indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia), to justice. 'The new government must uphold its international obligations by arresting and transferring Milosevic and the officials to the custody of the tribunal.' Paul Miller said, 'At this stage we do not see how a fair and proper trial can be held in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Equally, the international community must not shrug off its own obligations. Amnesties and impunity for crimes against humanity have no place on the negotiating table.'

On taking office the president-elect, Vojislav Kostunica, is empowered under Article 96, paragraph 8 of the Federal Constitution to grant a pardon for those convicted under federal legislation. Amnesty International called upon him to demonstrate his and his government's commitment to the cause of justice by effecting the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience and those who are held unlawfully, and to review the cases of those who have suffered unfair political trials. The freeing of such figures as journalist Miroslav Filipovic and human rights activist Flora Brovina would be an unmistakable signal of such a commitment.

Paul Miller added, 'the opportunity to create a new political and social climate, marked by the reform of police and security services, respect for the rule of law, the provision of compensation and restitution for the victims and attention to the need of groups such as refugees and displaced persons, lies before Serbia and Yugoslavia. The opportunity must not be missed.'

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