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Yugoslavia: Russia's UN Envoy Wants War Crimes Tribunal Review

United Nations, 15 February 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Sergei Lavrov, says the political changes in the Balkan region require new approaches in the way the UN War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia operates. Lavrov told reporters at UN headquarters today that the recent changes in Yugoslavia and Croatia require what he called a "rethinking" in the way the tribunal should work.

He said the court should cooperate more closely with the new governments in the region and allow them to prosecute war crimes cases on their home territory.

Lavrov also repeated his request, made to the Security Council yesterday, that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan review the work of the tribunal and recommend a time frame for ending its work.

Russia has repeatedly criticized the tribunal, saying it has an anti-Serb bias. Meanwhile the chief prosecutor of the war crimes tribunal, Carla Del Ponte, arrived in the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro yesterday for talks with officials about extraditing war crimes suspects.

Del Ponte is reported to have arrest warrants for Montenegrins indicted for war crimes committed during the conflicts in ex-Yugoslavia.

Del Ponte was scheduled to meet with top Montenegrin officials, including President Milo Djukanovic and state prosecutor Bozidar Vukcevic.

Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister Dragisa Burzan said Montenegro is prepared to hand over all persons appearing on the list of indictees.

Del Ponte was rebuffed by Serbian and Yugoslav leaders during a trip last month to Belgrade to seek the extradition of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.