Friday, October 07, 2005

US renews pressure on Serbia over war criminals

WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - The United States renewed pressure on Friday on Serbia to hand over top war crimes fugitives to a U.N. tribunal, in contrast with a softening EU stance.

Nicholas Burns, the No. 3 official at the State Department, said he would visit Belgrade next week to demand Serbia capture ex-Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic and wartime political leader Radovan Karadzic.

Defiance would keep Serbia excluded from NATO and could prompt the United States to again suspend aid to Serbia, which it resumed this year after Belgrade handed over lower-profile fugitives, Burns said.

Burns' pressure comes despite an EU move last month to back opening talks with Belgrade on its eventual membership in the wealthy bloc that had long been held up due to the fugitives.

The two men are indicted for genocide in the 1992-95 Bosnian war including the massacre 10 years ago of up to 8,000 Muslims in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

"It's a lack of political will on the part of the Belgrade authorities," Burns told reporters. "It does not stand to reason that these people cannot be found."

"They ought to be able to do this and until they do this they will not have a normal relationship with the United States," he added.

As part of NATO, the United States went to war with the former Yugoslavia in 1999.

Criticized for neglecting the Balkans, this year the Bush administration has refocused on the region with Burns leading the diplomacy.


He also said the United States would continue to block Croatia's efforts to join NATO until the capture of fugitive Ante Gotovina, who commanded a blitz offensive to recapture the Krajina region from breakaway Serb forces in August 1995.

He acknowledged a difference over Croatia with the European Union, which has begun talks on Zagreb's entry into the block after the government improved cooperation with the tribunal in The Hague.

European powers have shifted their diplomacy in ex-Yugoslavia away from the fugitives and onto what they consider the urgent need for a solution in Kosovo, the U.N.-run Serbian province whose Albanian majority demands independence.

Brussels hopes the promise of a common EU roof for all the Balkan states can smooth what are expected to be very difficult talks starting next month and cement stability in a region that saw 250,000 die in three wars in the 1990s.

While Burns said it was unsustainable to keep a decision on Kosovo's future status on hold, he was not prepared to cede ground on the fugitives.

Serbian leaders led him to believe in June on his previous trip that Mladic's capture was imminent but he was "severely disappointed" there had been no progress, he said.

Intensifying the pressure, he set an informal deadline for the capture, noting it would be symbolic if they were handed over before the Nov. 21 10th anniversary of the Dayton accords, which ended the Bosnian war.


Anonymous said...

Clinton-Bush, Albright, Cohen, Clark, Abramowitz, Sharon, Holbrooke, Kohl, Kinkel, Blair, here are the war criminals. And fUCK (your mother).

Anonymous said...

Man, Serbs still cannot understand how a group of two million Albanians made them look like the world's biggest morons.

This is what you get when you try to bully the Balkans around...

Croatians, Bosnians tried to expose the Serbian barbarism, but it took the world a while to understand that they're dealing with Europe's most barbarous people (Serbs).

Anonymous said...

Serbs are such player haters.

Anonymous said...

I love Serbs. They are the bests. Alexandra.

Anonymous said...

You mean the breasts.

Anonymous said...

Serbs are excellent and human soldiers. They don't committed war crimes. This is Nato propaganda, Psyops. VJ protected women and children against terrorism. Don't mistake VJ for irregulars groups. VJ is professional Army. Dominique (French observer)

Anonymous said...


Ex-Marine Says He Committed Atrocities By JOELLE DIDERICH, Associated Press Writer
Fri Oct 7, 7:52 PM ET

A former U.S. Marine in Iraq alleges that his battalion committed atrocities against Iraqi civilians during the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, including shooting unarmed protesters.

Jimmy Massey, a staff sergeant who was in the Marines for 12 years and served three months in Iraq before being honorably discharged with post-traumatic stress syndrome, details the allegations in his book "Kill! Kill! Kill!", written with the French journalist Natasha Saulnier and published in France.

Massey said he was in charge of a platoon in the 3rd Batallion of Regimental Combat Team 7, responsible for setting up checkpoints and providing armed cover against terrorists and insurgents.

He alleges that over a period of a month and a half in 2003, his platoon killed more than 30 civilians in Iraq.

"We in fact, I feel, escalated the violence," he told The Associated Press in an interview.

Massey, however, said in one case shortly after April 2003, Marines who heard a gunshot fired upon 10 Iraqi demonstrators shouting anti-U.S. slogans and wielding banners saying "Go Home" near the sprawling Al-Rashid military complex southeast of the city center. All but one of the demonstrators were killed, said Massey, who estimated he himself fired about 12 shots.

Massey said he later found several rocket-propelled grenades propped on a wall some 500 feet away. He interpreted the demonstrators' failure to use the weapons as a sign of their peaceful intentions.

"That day we shot the protesters in the Rashid complex was when I had a moment of clarity and I understood that by our actions of doing that, we set the tone overall for what the Iraqis were seeing and the brutality of what we were doing was being displayed," he told AP.

Maj. Gabrielle Chapin, a spokeswoman at Marine Corps headquarters in the Pentagon, said the Marines are committed to investigating all allegations of violations of "law of war or rules of engagement."

"Mr. Massey made allegations of genocide by members of his command, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, resulting in an investigation," she said.

The investigation was completed in June 2004, "and these allegations were found to be unsubstantiated in regards to law or rules of engagement violations," Chapin said.

The French-language version of Massey's book went on sale in France this week.

Massey said he was not surprised by the reluctance of U.S. publishers. "The picture that I paint within the book is very difficult for a lot of Americans to grasp, and I understand that," he said.

Anonymous said...

War criminals are in United States and Great Britain, no in Serbia.

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