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Yugoslavia: UN Tribunal Demands Milosevic's Handover 'Immediately'

Belgrade, 4 April 2001 (RFE/RL) -- The UN war crimes tribunal today said Yugoslavia must "immediately" transfer former President Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague. Yugoslav officials have said they cannot transfer Milosevic until parliament adopts legislation allowing the move.

Jean-Jacque Joris, the top political adviser to Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, said the transfer is "non-negotiable."

Joris said he was "not worried" that Milosevic's successor, Vojislav Kostunica, an expert in constitutional law, would find a way to get Milosevic to the tribunal.

Yesterday, Joris said prosecutors were prepared to wait several months for Milosevic's arrival, as long as Yugoslavia committed itself to handing over its former president and stepped up its arrests of other suspects.

The UN tribunal accuses Milosevic of responsibility for the mass killings and expulsions of ethnic Albanians from the province of Kosovo in 1999 by Serbian forces under his command.

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook reiterated today in Belgrade that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic must ultimately face trial by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Cook said that Milosevic is not above international law and must be tried for crimes he committed against other peoples of the Balkans.

But, he said, Britain has no basic objections to Yugoslav authorities' first trying Milosevic at home for crimes against his own people. Cook made the remarks as he arrived in Belgrade for talks.

For more on this story, please see Yugoslavia: Kostunica Still Opposes Milosevic's Extradition To The Hague.