Strasbourg,France; April 25 (RFE/RL) - The President of the International War Crimes Tribunal, Antonio Cassese, called today for the re-imposition of sanctions against Rump Yugoslavia and the Bosnian Serbs, if they do not immediately begin turning over accused war criminals to the tribunal in the Hague.
In a speech to a European Parliament debate on implementation of the Dayton Peace Accord for Bosnia, Cassese called for the reimposition of economic sanctions - which were only recently lifted - "if no breakthrough occurs in the very near future." Otherwise, he said, the world community will be shown to be, in his words, "toothless and impotent in the face of defiance."
He condemned all sides in former Yugoslavia for their failure to turn over to the tribunal even a single one of the 120 people for which it has issued arrest warrants. Aside from these wanted people, the tribunal has indicted 57 suspected war criminals - the vast majority Serbs - but has only six of them in custody.
He said that four months after the signing of the Dayton accords, the attitude of all sides toward pursuing war criminals is disappointing and they are often "in blatant breech of their international obligations."
He said there has been a slight improvement in the attitude of the Croatian authorities, and it remains to be seen how the Muslim-led Bosnian government will respond because the tribunal has just asked it to turn over two suspects who live in government-controlled territory.
Cassese criticized Rump Yugoslavia (consisting of Serbia and Montenegro) for maitaining that Serb suspects can only be tried there. But he said the attitude of the Republika Serpska - the Serb-half of Bosnia - has been, in his words, "by far the most reprehensible." He harshly criticized the Bosnian Serbs for keeping political leader Radovan Karadzic and Miltiary Chief General Ratko Mladic in their positions, despite the fact that both are wanted in the Hague on war crimes charges.