Friday, April 22, 2005

Serb general Pavkovic to surrender to Hague

BELGRADE, April 22 (Reuters) - Former Yugoslav Army chief-of-staff Nebojsa Pavkovic has surrendered and will go to the United Nations war crimes tribunal to face charges of war crimes in Kosovo, the Serb government said on Friday.

He is the 12th war crimes suspect to go to The Hague this year in line with a surrender policy that earned Belgrade a positive nod from the European Union on closer ties earlier this month.

The European Commission "feasibility" report on April 12th recommended the EU and Serbia start talks on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, a stepping stone to eventual membership.

But diplomats said EU foreign ministers would only back the proposal after the handover of Pavkovic, a key fugitive among the dozen people still on the run from the Hague.

Pavkovic is due to leave for The Hague on Monday April 25th, the day the bloc's foreign ministers meet to endorse the Commission's proposal.

He is one of four generals indicted in 2003 for the killings of Kosovo Albanian civilians in 1999 while battling ethnic Albanian separatist guerrillas.

His co-indictee army general Vladimir Lazarevic surrendered in February, followed by police general Sreten Lukic in April. Police general Vlastimir Djordjevic fled to Russia in 2001.

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