Ivo Skoric on Sat, 13 Feb 1999 07:56:07 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> (Fwd) Kosovo War Criminals May Go Free

Should I state the obvious again, as Ed would say? Why would any 
party commit to a proposition to get their leaders arrested?

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date:          Tue, 09 Feb 1999 09:36:30 +0000
To:            donalds@hrw.org
From:          Skye Donald <donalds@hrw.org>
Subject:       Kosovo War Criminals May Go Free

Interim Accord Must Address Atrocities

(New York, February 9, 1999) There is a real danger that the Kosovo interim
accord being discussed this week in France will allow war criminals to go
Human Rights Watch warned today. 

The organization called for the interim agreement to include an unequivocal
obligation by all parties (Kosovo Albanians, Serbians, and authorities of the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY)) to "co-operate immediately and fully"
with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which
has a
United Nations mandate to investigate and prosecute war crimes in Kosovo. 
Specifically, the accord should oblige all parties to provide tribunal
personnel visa-free access to the territory and give them unfettered rights to
interview witnesses and gather evidence. It should also commit the parties to
arrest all indicted war criminals present in FRY and transfer them to the
tribunal in The Hague. 

"It looks like the Contact Group may let justice drop off the table at
Rambouillet," said Holly Cartner, executive director of Human Rights Watch's
Europe and Central Asia division. "A verbal commitment to try war criminals is
not enough. The agreement must include concrete, binding and enforceable
obligations on the parties to assist the tribunal." 

Since February 1998, the Serbian police and Yugoslav Army, under the
control of
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, have committed crimes against humanity
and war crimes by attacking non-combatants, executing detainees and
systematically destroying civilian property, Human Rights Watch said. Although
on a lesser scale than government forces, the Kosovo Liberation Army also has
kidnaped civilians and committed some summary executions. Human Rights Watch
carries the reports of its investigations into these abuses on its website at

Early drafts of the accord circulating before the negotiations began contained
stronger language on the jurisdiction of the tribunal in Kosovo, but later
drafts have been watered down and ask only for "co-operation" with the
tribunal. The current wording is not explicit enough and would allow the
parties to evade their obligations to the tribunal, as has happened in Bosnia
under the Dayton peace accords. The Yugoslav government has systematically
refused to implement tribunal provisions in the Dayton accords, including the
obligation to arrest indicted war criminals known to reside in Yugoslavia.  

Human Rights Watch is concerned that a similar pattern is emerging in the
Kosovo conflict. "The October agreement for a cease-fire in Kosovo omitted an
explicit written commitment to cooperate with the tribunal," Cartner
"As a result, the Tribunal has faced repeated obstruction to its work. And, as
evidenced by the recent massacres, the parties to the conflict have been left
to conclude that they can continue to commit atrocities with impunity."

Human Rights Watch recommended that the Contact Group include the following
points regarding war crimes in the interim accord:

1. The parties agree to co-operate immediately and fully with the tribunal
pursuant to all relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

2. The parties publicly recognize the jurisdiction of the tribunal to conduct
investigations in Kosovo. 

3. The parties agree to arrest and detain all persons indicted by the tribunal
who reside or transit through any part of Serbia or the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia (FRY).  Arrested war criminals will be transferred to the
custody of
the tribunal. 

4. The parties agree to provide tribunal personnel with visa-free entry into
FRY to conduct unrestricted investigations. 

5. The parties commit to provide any and all judicial assistance requested by
the tribunal, such as the taking of testimony, access to and production of
evidence, and provision of documents. 

6. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Kosovo
Verification Mission should have an explicit mandate to assist the tribunal in
all possible ways with its work, including the identification of witnesses to
war crimes, the procurement of evidence, and information on KLA and Yugoslav
command structure. The Mission should also be responsible for escorting and
assisting tribunal personnel, if requested. 

7. If NATO troops are deployed, they should provide a secure environment in
Kosovo for tribunal investigators. 

8. If NATO troops are deployed, they should have an explicit mandate to arrest
indicted war criminals. 

9. No concessions will be granted to the Yugoslav or Serbian governments, such
as the lifting of the so-called "outer wall" of sanctions, until the tribunal
certifies that the above conditions have been met. 

For additional information, contact:
Fred Abrahams (mobile): 32-75-528-890
Jean-Paul Marthoz, Brussels: 32-2-736-7838
Holly Cartner, NYC: 1-212-216-1277
#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo@desk.nl and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime/  contact: nettime-owner@desk.nl