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Wednesday, 17 April, 2002, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Belgrade order to war crimes suspects
Ratko Mladic (left) with Radovan Karadzic in August 1993
The top Bosnian Serb suspects are still on the run
The Yugoslav Government has given 23 war crimes suspects - including Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief Ratko Mladic - three days to surrender.

An official statement quoted by Serbian radio said the accused should report to the Yugoslav Justice Ministry "within three days and reach an agreement on the manner of their voluntary surrender".

Serbian President Milan Milutinovic
Milan Milutinovic: Many Serbs would oppose his handover
The statement named officials wanted by the International Tribunal in The Hague, where former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is on trial.

The list includes former Yugoslav army commander Dragoljub Ojdanic and current Serbian President Milan Milutinovic.

Yugoslavia's parliament last week adopted a law authorising the authorities to send people accused of atrocities during the Balkan wars of the 1990s to The Hague.

Earlier this year, two operations by Nato-led peacekeepers failed to net Mr Karadzic in southeastern Bosnia.

Mr Mladic is believed to be hiding in the Yugoslav capital Belgrade.

Wanted Yugoslav suspects
Vladimir Kovacevic, Milan Zec, Milan Milutinovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic, Nikola Sainovic, Sredoje Lukic, Milan Lukic, Miroslav Radic, Milan Mrksic, Veselin Sljivancanin
Wanted non-Yugoslav suspects
Stojan Zupljanin, Ranko Cesic, Savo Todovic, Gojko Jankovic, Mitar Rasevic, Radovan Stankovic, Dragan Zelenovic, Zeljko Mejakic, Vinko Pandurevic, Momcilo Gruban, Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic, Milan Martic

Belgrade said it would offer guarantees for the pre-trial release of those handing themselves over.

But it did not specify how it would deal with people who refused to surrender.

The BBC's Alix Kroeger in Belgrade says none of the main candidates for extradition shows any sign of preparing to go quietly to The Hague.

One of the most wanted Serbian war crimes suspects - former Interior Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic - died on Sunday of self-inflicted wounds in Belgrade.

Stojiljkovic - who headed the police during the Milosevic era - shot himself in front of the federal parliament on Thursday, just hours after its members voted to allow the extradition of suspects to The Hague tribunal.

The United States has been exerting financial pressure on Belgrade. Washington effectively froze $40m of aid after the Yugoslav authorities failed to meet a 31 March deadline to act against war crimes suspects.

The new Yugoslav law applies to suspects already indicted by the international tribunal. Anyone indicted in the future will be tried by authorities in Yugoslavia.

See also:

17 Apr 02 | Europe
Hague's wanted men
14 Apr 02 | Europe
Top Serb suspect dies
12 Apr 02 | Media reports
Former Serbian minister's suicide note
13 Apr 02 | Europe
Hague suspects go to ground
21 Mar 02 | Europe
Del Ponte calls for snatch squad
01 Mar 02 | Europe
Karadzic slips Nato net again
01 Mar 02 | Europe
The race to catch Karadzic
28 Feb 02 | Europe
Nato's Karadzic hunt draws blank
12 Mar 02 | Europe
The Hague looms over the Balkans
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