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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 22:06 GMT
Milosevic trial warning - Straw
Milosevic flanked by guards at an earlier trial hearing
The Milosevic tribunal will be 'a landmark day'
The war crimes trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic is "a warning to all dictators", Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said.

The ousted leader appears before a tribunal in The Hague on Tuesday on charges of war crimes in Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia.

In a statement released by the Foreign Office in London, Mr Straw said the trial was, in part, a vindication of Nato's 1999 Kosovo campaign.

He added: "This is a landmark day. Milosevic will at last have to face reality.

"He would not be in court without the international community standing up to his regime.

"Many doubted this defence of human rights could succeed in halting the crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.

Slobodan Milosevic
  • Genocide
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions
  • Violations of the laws or customs of war

    Click here for a full list of charges

  • "Milosevic's appearance in court is a warning to all dictators."

    Mr Milosevic is being tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

    They relate to the bloody conflicts following the dissolution of Yugoslavia from 1991 to1999.

    As head of state, Mr Milosevic is charged with presiding over a master plan to create a "Greater Serbia" in an alleged project which led to the killing of nearly 250,000 non-Serbs in Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Kosovo.

    He has said he does not recognise the legitimacy of the UN tribunal or the charges against him.

    Mr Straw paid tribute to the determination of the ICTY for bringing Milosevic to trial, and to the authorities in Belgrade for arresting Milosevic and transferring him to The Hague.

    Mr Straw said: "But there is still much work to do. There are a number of indictees still at large, who have yet to be brought to justice.

    In hiding

    "Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are the best known, but there are others too who must also still face the charges against them.

    "I urge the governments concerned, who all want to integrate into Europe, to recognise the importance of settling this issue and cooperating fully with the tribunal."

    Karadzic was political leader of the Bosnian Serbs in the 1992 to 95 war.

    He stands indicted for genocide over the siege of Sarajevo and the killing of up to 8,000 men from Srebrenica.

    He is believed to be in hiding in eastern Bosnia.

    Mladic commanded the Bosnian Serb army during the war, and also faces genocide charges.

    Others indicted include Milan Milutinovic, still the Serb president, who is wanted for crimes against humanity, and Dragoljub Ojdanic, army chief of staff during the Kosovo war, who also faces charges of crimes against humanity.

    Jim Landale, UN War Crimes Tribunal
    "This is a key moment for the tribunal"
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