Briefly Noted

By Stacy Sullivan in The Hague (TU 314, 19-23 May 2003)

Briefly Noted

By Stacy Sullivan in The Hague (TU 314, 19-23 May 2003)

Tuesday, 22 February, 2005

Slobodan Milosevic’s war crimes trial was halted again on May 27 because the former Yugoslav president was sick with a fever, the tribunal said.


No date was given as to when the trial would continue. A doctor will reportedly examine Milosevic then report to the trial chamber.


The genocide trial has been repeatedly interrupted due to Milosevic’s ill-health since it began in February 2002.


VUKOVAR MASSACRE CASE ARRESTS


Serbian police have detained some 23 people in connection with the 1991 massacre of more than 200 Croatian civilians at a hospital in Vukovar, Serbian interior minister Dusan Mihajlovic announced this week.


The suspects - the first to be detained by Serbian authorities for war crimes - are likely to be the first to go on trial in a special war crimes court which Serbia plans to set up.


The announcement of their arrest came shortly after the chief prosecutor at The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, handed over files related to the Vukovar killings to the Belgrade authorities.


The tribunal has indicted three former Yugoslav army officers for their roles in the massacre. Two of them, General Mile Mrksic and Colonel Miroslav Radic, have turned themselves in. The third, Colonel Veselin Sljivancanin, remains at large.


Serbia-Montenegro defence minister Boris Tadic told Belgrade’s B-92 this week that Sljivancanin was living in an army facility and that he had threatened to kill himself if he were transferred to The Hague.


"Sljivancanin should not be making threats of destruction, bombs, murder and suicide, because this is not the behaviour of a soldier. I will use this opportunity to appeal again to Sljivancanin to surrender," Tadic said.


MONTENEGRIN EDITOR INDICTED


The editor of the Podgorica daily Dan, Dusko Jovanovic, was served last weekend with an indictment from The Hague for contempt of court, the Belgrade daily Danas reported.


Jovanovic is wanted for publishing the name of a protected witness in the Milosevic trial in the August 30, 2002 edition of his newspaper.


After receiving the indictment from a Podgorica court, Jovanovic reportedly said that he would hire a lawyer and prepare the best defence he could.


MILOSEVIC’S WIFE AND SON WANTED BY INTERPOL


Interpol has issued international arrest warrants for Slobodan Milosevic’s wife, Mirjana Markovic, and the couple’s son, Marko, Serbia’s Beta news service reported last week.


The two are believed to be living in Russia. Markovic, who is wanted for fraud, fled Serbia one day before her immunity as a member of parliament expired.


Marko Milosevic left the republic in October 2000, the day after the popular uprising ousted his father from power.


Beta reported that Interpol issued the warrant for Markovic on April 17, and for Milosevic’s son in December last year.


INDICTED MILOSEVIC ALLY HOSPITALISED


Slobodan Milosevic's former state security chief Jovica Stanisic, who is due to be extradited to The Hague, was taken to hospital on May 26 with an unspecified illness.


“He is really in very serious condition,'' Serbia’s human rights minister Rasim Ljajic told the Associated Press. ``It is now up to the doctors to determine when he will be extradited.''


Nonetheless, Ljajic signed documents making it possible for Stanisic to be extradited to The Hague as soon as his health improves.


The former security chief’s lawyer claims that Stanisic has colon cancer and is suffering from osteoporosis and poor circulation in his left leg.


He was arrested, along with his deputy Frenko Simatovic, by Belgrade police in connection with the March 12 assassination of prime minister Zoran Djindjic. They were both subsequently indicted by the war crimes tribunal.


Simatovic’s extradition order was signed on May 26 and he is expected to arrive in The Hague any day now.


SERBIA RETURNS ALBANIAN REMAINS


Serbia has returned the bodies of 29 Albanians from Meja, a mostly Roman Catholic suburb of the Kosovo town of Gjakova, so that they could be given a decent burial.


The villagers were killed four years ago during the Serbian campaign in Kosovo. Their remains, reburied on May 23, were found in a mass grave on the grounds of a Serbian police training centre at Batajnica, just outside of Belgrade.


More than 100 Albanian civilians from Meja are believed to have been killed by Serbian forces at the end of April 1999.


COULD PLAVSIC SERVE SENTENCE IN LUXURY JAIL?


For several weeks now, journalists have been asking tribunal officials whether former Bosnian Serb leader Biljana Plavsic, who pleaded guilty to crimes against humanity in February, will be allowed to serve her sentence in Sweden, where prisoners have private cells with colour televisions.


On May 27, Swedish officials said they were considering whether to offer their jail facilities to tribunal authorities to imprison the Bosnian Serb “Iron Lady”.


The prospect has infuriated many Bosnian Muslims, who were already angry that Plavsic received a sentence of only 11 years for her role in the Bosnian war.


The Swedish cells, shown on the jail’s website, are called “living rooms” and reportedly have central heating and private bathrooms.


Tribunal officials refused to say which country would host Plavsic, the highest-ranking Bosnian Serb official to be sentenced.


Stacy Sullivan is IWPR project manager in The Hague.


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