Bosnian Serb Mininster
Talks with Tribunal
THE HAGUE, July 29 (Reuters) - Bosnian Serb Justice Minister Marko Arsovic held preliminary talks with the registry of the U.N. criminal tribunal for former Yugoslavia on Monday, the first such official visit by the separatist Bosnian Serb entity.
The visit, seen as a breakthrough for the tribunal after prolonged non-cooperation from the Bosnian Serb authorities in tracking down indicted war criminals, is due to end on Wednesday with the release of a joint statement, the tribunal said.
Before leaving for The Hague, Arsovic said the Bosnian Serbs, headquartered in Pale, near Sarajevo, would not consider extraditing war crimes suspects until after Bosnian elections slated for mid-September. During the visit, which continues on Tuesday with talks between Arsovic and tribunal prosecutors, the Bosnian Serbs are former Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.
The tribunal last month issued international arrest warrants against Karadzic and Serb army chief General Ratko Mladic, both of whom have held out against international pressure to surrender. NATO peace troops in Bosnia have not hunted them down, fearing casualties and Serb civil unrest. A tribunal spokeswoman declined to say what had been discussed, but Arsovic was also expected to urge the tribunal to indict Bosnian Muslim President Alija Izetbegovic, although he has not said on what charges.
Izetbegovic's deputy Ejup Ganic has already been charged by a military court in federal Yugoslavia, from which Muslim-led Bosnia seceded in 1992. Ganic was alleged to have played a role in an attack on a Yugoslav army convoy.
The tribunal has indicted 75 people, more than half of them Serbs, for alleged atrocities against civilians and prisoners in the war which ended with the Dayton peace treaty in late 1995. The tribunal hopes this week's visit will lead to further exchanges, boosting cooperation between Pale, Belgrade and The Hague.
Key Facts about the War Crimes Tribunal
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia The United Nations
Coalition for International Justice
Major War Criminals/Suspects CalTech's Bosnia Site
Reports on War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia CalTech's Bosnia Site
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