Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Moscow checking war crimes suspect's whereabouts: ambassador

Moscow is checking reports that a former Serbian police general indicted by the UN tribunal over crimes committed during the 1998-99 war in Kosovo, has been hiding out in Russia, an ambassador said Wednesday.

"We are checking information" that Vlastimir Djordjevic has been in hiding in Russia for several years, Russian ambassador in Belgrade Aleksandar Alekseyev told reporters here.

He added that Russia, as a member of the United Nations, had an "obligation to cooperate with the tribunal, founded by the UN Security Council."

Several Western newspapers reported during the past week that Bosnian Serb wartime officer Gojko Jankovic, who surrendered to the UN war crimes court in The Hague last week and faces rape and torture charges, had been living in Russia under protection of that country's intelligence services.

But Russia's FSB security agency denied the reports, saying that "such information has no basis and absolutely does not correspond to reality."

Earlier Wednesday, Serbian special prosecutor's office for war crimes said in a statement that graphological analysis of a letter allegedly sent from Moscow by Djordjevic confirmed the authenticity of his signature.

It also said that Djordjevic's wife "has been sending his pension to Russia" since May 2002.

The prosecutor's office said it had suggested freezing the assets of all 13 fugitive war crimes suspects, including Djordjevic, in accordance with a draft proposal by the country's National Council for cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The Council has put such proposals in a draft bill to be debated by the parliament of Serbia-Montenegro at a date not yet specified.

No comments: