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Milosevic Charged With Bosnia Genocide - 2001-11-23


The U.N.'s International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague disclosed Friday that charges against Slobodan Milosevic include genocide. The indictment against the former Yugoslav president for alleged war crimes in Bosnia said he is responsible for thousands of murders and the deportation or imprisonment of over 250,000 Bosnians during the 1992 to 1995 war.

Slobodan Milosevic has already been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Kosovo and Croatia.

But in charging the former Yugoslav president with genocide, the tribunal's most serious crime, prosecutors are now holding him responsible for what many consider to be the worst crimes of the Bosnian war: the murder of thousands of Muslim men after the fall of Srebrenica; the imprisonment and murder of thousands of non Serbs in Bosnia's prison camps; and the siege of Sarajevo.

Prosecutors said Mr. Milosevic headed a joint criminal enterprise that included former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic, his military commander General Ratko Mladic, the now deceased para military leader known as Arkan, and the current leader of the Serbian Radical Party, Vojislav Seselj.

The list of co-perpetrators also includes some former Bosnian Serb political leaders who are already in the tribunal's custody, such as Biljana Plavsic and Momcilo Krajisnik.

Prosecutors said the goal of the joint criminal enterprise was to permanently remove non Serbs from Bosnia and create an ethnically pure Serb state.

In doing so, prosecutors said, Slobodan Milosevic set out to destroy the non Serb communities through military attacks, imprisonment, and murder.

Thousands of people were killed, said prosecutors, thousands more were held in over 50 prisons, and more than a quarter of a million people were forced to leave Bosnia or taken prisoner.

Mr. Milosevic was sent to The Hague from Belgrade on June 28. He is due to go on trial for alleged war crimes in Kosovo and Croatia in February.

But prosecutors have said they want to have one trial that will include the new genocide charges.

First, however, Slobodan Milosevic will be asked to answer to the latest 29 charges against him. So far, he has refused to cooperate with the tribunal, which he said is illegal, and judges have entered not guilty pleas for him. He is expected back in court next month.

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