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Helsinki Commission Members React to Milosevic Developments

WASHINGTON – Members of the United States Helsinki Commission today issued statements on the most recent developments in the case of Slobodan Milosevic.

“I am pleased to hear reports that Slobodan Milosevic is being put in the custody of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, located in The Hague,” said Chairman Campbell. “The Helsinki Commission has, from the beginning of the Yugoslav conflict of the 1990s, supported the creation and operation of the Tribunal in response to the war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide associated with that conflict.”

“While many factors and players were involved in the former Yugoslavia’s violent demise, without doubt Milosevic was primarily responsible for turning the situation into an ethnic cleansing campaign in which hundreds of thousands were killed, tens of thousands raped or subjected to other forms of torture and millions displaced,” Campbell added.

“I hope that Milosevic’s delivery to The Hague will lead to the apprehension and surrender of others indicted by the Tribunal, many known or believed still to be in Serbia,” said Co-Chairman Smith. “This process will give victims the satisfaction of justice served. It will also give the people of Serbia, who have recently learned with revulsion of the atrocities for which the Milosevic regime was responsible, a chance to put the legacy of hate behind them. For tyrants around the world, it will be a deterring example that there is accountability for the massive and criminal violation of human rights.”

“The United States Congress can be proud of the role it has played in this ongoing struggle for justice in the Balkans,” said Ranking Member Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD). “Often against the advice of the foreign policy establishment, there has been bipartisan support for creating an international tribunal which would hold those guilty of egregious crimes accountable for their acts, and for ensuring that cooperation with the tribunal remained a central part of U.S. policy toward the region.”

“We must keep in mind that several other indicted persons remain at large, including Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic for the Srebrenica massacre and those responsible for the Vukovar massacre,” said Helsinki Commission Member Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD). “They played a direct role in atrocities, and the delivery of Milosovic will hopefully build momentum for their apprehension as well.”

Milosevic was indicted in May 1999 on charges of “crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war.”

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