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Yugoslavia: Serbian President Dismisses War Crimes Charges

Belgrade, 17 January 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Serbian President Milan Milutinovic has dismissed charges that the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague brought against him as "thin and not backed with evidence." Milutinovic was indicted for genocide in 1999 along with former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and three other officials over their role in the Kosovo conflict. In a television interview last night, Milutinovic said he had done nothing wrong and had nothing to hide. The chief prosecutor for the UN war crimes tribunal, Carla Del Ponte, visits Belgrade on January 23 to pressure officials to hand over war crimes suspects, especially Milosevic.

Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica has rejected handing Milosevic over to the tribunal and has said he does not have time to meet with Del Ponte. Del Ponte was quoted yesterday in a Belgian newspaper as saying she was confident Kostunica would meet with her.