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Amna Dumpur, Bosnian in London
"I lost about 60 members of my distant family"
 real 28k

Vesna Pilipovic, Novi Sad
"The way it was done was a little bit shameful"
 real 28k

Natasha Dracovics, Belgrade
"We didn't expect it would happen so quickly"
 real 28k

Slavna Pavlovic, London
"He's been sold for money"
 real 28k

Thanos, Greece
"I strongle believe it's a travesty of justice"
 real 28k

Heimo Heringa, Hoorn, Netherlands
"I think it would have been fair to let the Yugoslavs first sort out their recent history themselves"
 real 28k

Michael Gostrich, Adelaide, Australia
"The cause of the present trouble in former Yugoslavia is Tito's constitution of 1974"
 real 28k

Steven Flosshaimer
"To tie the extradition to money may make it look as though he was sold"
 real 28k

Thursday, 5 July, 2001, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
What now for the Balkans?

Select the link below to watch Talking Point On Air

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is preparing to make his first appearance before the United Nations war crimes tribunal.

He will face charges of planning and ordering a campaign of terror, persecution and violence against the Kosovo Albanians at the end of the 1990s.

His extradition has strained Yugoslavia's governing coalition with Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica denouncing the extradition as illegal and unconstitutional.

After handing over Mr Milosevic, Yugoslavia has been promised more than $1.2bn in desperately needed financial aid from international donors that is crucial for the country's economic recovery.

What do you think about the extradition of Slobodan Milosevic? What are the implications for the future of Yugoslavia and the Balkan region? If you are from the former Yugoslavia what does this moment mean for you?

Lyse Doucet was joined by the BBC's Balkans Analyst Gabriel Partos to discuss the extradition of Slobodan Milosevic and the implications for the Balkan region in a Talking Point phone-in programme broadcast on BBC World Service Radio and on BBC News Online.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

  • Your comments since the programme
  • Your comments during the programme
  • Your comments before the programme

    Your comments since the programme

    Whether Mr Milosevic is found guilty or not is not as important as to expose Western Powers duplicity and the fallacy of their pro- Yugoslavia policies. Remember J.Baker's remark to Milosevic to safeguard Yugoslavia border integrity. It was the green light needed for Milosevic's aggression against Slovenia (Croatia). Thousands of innocent victims paid the maximum price. The guilt does not ends with Milosevic, it starts higher than him and goes all the way down the line.
    Stephen, Perth, Western Australia

    I am very glad that the Milosevic is in the Hague but its strange how his nation who supported him all the time in the end betrayed him for over $US1.2 billion. It is very naive though if the world think that the Serbian nation is democratised - it is just an interest in the money, they are the people who did crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. The Milosevic couldn't play the game alone.
    Zana, Gjakova, Kosova

    Have I been on a different planet for the last ten years? Has everyone else on the world missed the point of the Nato intervention in the Balkans? Has no one seen the mass graves hiding hundreds of murdered women and children? All at the hands of this man. Nato would have been criticised for not helping the people of Kosovo but when they do they are branded criminals! Would you rather these people continue to be slaughtered? It's typical of the world today. The rest of the world had tried talking this man out of killing innocent people but he ignored them, it was time for someone to take action.
    Scott, UK

    What we are witnessing these days is selective justice

    Alex Shoffner, Prague, Czech Rep
    I am pleased to see Mr Milosovic finally in the Hague. But what about the others? Is he the only world leader who did some dirty work? Or is he in the Hague only because Yugoslavia is no longer a strong country and badly in need of Western cash? Don't you think this whole trial is politically motivated? And if not, why not put on trial all the other world leaders who did the same to their nations if not more? It's good to talk about justice, but it's bad to talk about selective justice, and I'm afraid what we are witnessing these days is selective justice.
    Alex Shoffner, Prague, Czech Rep

    How many Albanian lives would be saved if he would be arrested immediately on March 24, 1999?
    Merita, Prishtina, Kosovo

    What now for the Balkans? Same old stuff. Tribal fighting, and illegal interference by the West. But now they have sold their president for millions of dollars and can look forward to more fast food chains. What a dream world in store! If the Serbs could sell their President, how much could we get if we sold Tony Blair to, say, the Iraqis to answer for all the people whose death he and his fellow president Clinton caused? He could go before a Human Rights court in, say, Kabul, and get a fair trial. What? Why not? What's the difference?
    Howard, Singapore

    I am a Australian born, but my background is of Yugoslavia orgin. I am disgusted to hear that Serbia's own Prime Minister has embarrassed the Serbian Community by accepting a payout to imprison Milosevic, after all has happened in the Balkans who can the Serbian community trust as their Prime Minister? No doubt in my mind that Milosevic needs to stand trial for what has happened in the past 10 years, but what will happen to the likes of the Tudjman and the Izetbegovic just to name a few. Were is the justice there and what about the Albainans? We the Serbian people have been unfairly judged by the world. We also have been affected by the outcomes of these bloody wars.
    Samira, Australia

    Why on earth all these people from Serbia on this page are defending Milosevic baffles me completely. This is the same person who provoked and dragged you into pointless wars time and again. He couldn't care less about his own people as his shameless looting of his own country shows all too well. Remember this when falling over yourselves to stick up for his "rights". I think that a lot of his apologists will be staggered once the trial starts and we get a fuller picture of exactly what Slobodan Milosevic has been up to for the last few years. And a quick word to Robert V on this page who thinks that Milosevic only ever wanted to get rid of the criminals - I'm sure that's exactly what was on the minds of the Serbian snipers in Sarajevo when they were killing women and children! Get real.
    Clive, Sydney, Australia

    Unfortunately western governments do not listen to public opinion. They have their own eco-political agendas. The Hague is just an instrument they use to justify their actions, as amply shown in this discussion. I mean, there are scores of Milosovic's calibre who are roaming the globe freely! Until and when we have the same wealth and firepower as the USA we shall see many of these "kangaroo" trials (kidnappings).
    Simon Wampoa, Germany

    It is all about the range guys. If you fire 340 civilians from 34 meters, it becomes a mass killing and a war crime and you are immediately flown to Hague for "justice". But if you drop radiation-laced bombs from your "invisible" warplanes, it becomes the humanitarian bombing! I feel ashamed of people like Kofi Annan and his helpless organization, which is working more like a political instrument of the US. I guess, it is the new old order! I feel ashamed of Serbs. They sold their country for one billion dollars! Is it possible to reconstruct the infrastructure destroyed by the NATO with that money?
    D, Nepal

    I am not a supporter of Slobodan MiloseviÁ by any means, but neither am I a supporter of the views and actions of the international community which is trying him. I can think of many leaders of the US, Britain, many European and other so called "developed" nations which should also be tried for crimes against humanity, war crimes, abuse of power and suchlike. George Bush (senior and junior) and Margaret Thatcher come to mind among many others. MiloseviÁ is just being used to pretend that the Western capitalist nations and the international "community" are actively promoting democracy and fighting against evil and tyranny across humanity. In reality this is far from the truth and we shouldn't be deceived by the lies and elaborate deceptions. The enemy comes from within, these so-called patriots of democracy and freedom aren't what they seem. We aren't being fooled.
    Benj'min Mossop, London, UK

    Milosevic now is better of in the Hague prison than he would have been in a Yugoslavia prison

    New York, USA
    If money can do it, then why not round up all the ex-criminal leaders and those who are in power, before the International Tribunal? Actually, Milosevic now is better of in the Hague prison than he would have been in a Yugoslavia prison - a comfortable room, with TV, coffee maker, and who knows what else. This is more than what a hard working law abiding Serb citizen gets these days. It is all a sham - good only for media consumption. This has nothing to do about crimes to humanity - as we speak there is much of it taking place around the world. Does anyone care? Of course not. We pick and choose.
    Abeba Isahac, New York, USA

    There will be wars in Europe every time European economy threatens the US economy. Everything else is just makeup and packaging for the masses. As for Milosevic, he is so transparently an American man that it wouldn't surprise me if the world finds out in 50 years that he actually walked away free from The Hague under a different identity.
    Vladimir, Sydney, NSW

    Why stop at Milosovic? Why not English PM Tony Blair?, US President Bill Clinton?, Albright?, UK Foreign Minister Robin Cook?, and a whole host of other Nato leaders who were involved in the direct murder of 500 innocent Yugoslav citizens, and 26 RTS employees. Robin Cook went on TV and told the world that the World Court is "not for British foreign Secretaries or US Presidents". It is a court of victors, and its nothing more than Kangroo justice. I hope no Indian leader will every support this court is so-called "judges", and help to pay and finance it.
    Solan Singh, New Delhi, India

    Slobodan should have never been arrested. He only wanted to clean his country of criminals.
    Robert V, Australia

    It now appears that he was traded for money!

    Bradford Musobobo
    It was morally wrong for the international community to set the condition for financial aid on the extradition of Milosevic to the UN Tribunal. It undermines the rules of natural justice. That is the reason why many people, including non-supporters of Milosevic, condemn his surrender. Why couldn't the multinational donors help the people of Serbia to recover from the effects of the war regardless of whether Milosevic is surrendered to the UN Tribunal or not? It now appears that he was traded for money! Why doesn't the UN pressure Saudi Arabia to hand over Idi Amin for the atrocities he committed against the people of Uganda for 8 years between 1971-1979?
    Bradford Musobobo

    It is of course terrible, what Milosevic did during his time in office and he should stand trial. However state terrorism in the form of NATO's bombings was also a war crime as defined under International Law. Were the International Court truly impartial, the likes of Blair and Clinton would stand trial for that. I find it hard to believe they ever will. There is also little chance of anyone standing trial for the genocide being commited every day in Iraq under the guise of economic sanctions or for the ethnic cleansing of Kurds in Turkey made possible thanks largely to American equipment. It is obvious why much of the world has little faith in the Court and its actions.
    Richard, England

    I should have loved to see him tried in a Serbian court

    Akonjang Bryant, Cameroon
    Putting Slobodan Milosevic on trial for war crimes is justifiable, but I should have loved to see him tried in a Serbian court. Until now Milosevic considered himself a national hero. If a court in Belgrade had been given the opportunity to do try him he would have been humiliated by his own people, not only for genocide and other crimes against humanity, but for the mess he created to his country: economic plundering, bribery, corruption, and abuse of power.
    Akonjang Bryant, Buea, Cameroon

    I hope this is a lesson for all the Serb leaders of the future: " Don't mess with Kosova". If you are stupid enough and you do, you will spend the rest of your life in a little prison cell like a dog.
    Gentian, Fier, Albania

    By accepting Milosevic by illegal and unconstitutional means regardless of his guilt (remember the adage that one is innocent till proven otherwise and American process of law that if one is arrested illegally his case is thrown out regardless of guilt), does that mean the IWCT is also guilty of a crime and should be brought to justice if they accept this extradiction? The Western international community continues to amaze.
    Bernard, Singapore

    This is a pity for small countries

    Wanhua, China
    This is a pity for small countries. How can they protect their national interest and integrity? If they didn't bow to USA and Nato, they would face punishment.
    Wanhua, China

    Milosevic's arrest is irrelevant. The only way the genocide against Kosovans and Bosnian Muslims will be avenged is when there is a reawakening of the Arab World and Turkey. When they will no doubt liberate Bosnia and establish a viable Muslim state. Revenge against Serbs will come then. Then there will be peace.
    Shahzad, London, UK

    Your comments during the programme

    It was a brave decision which has lanced the boil

    Lloney, Antwerp re
    The furore over the extradition procedures shows that it was the only way it could have been successfully achieved. To have delayed would have meant more problems for this or any future Yugoslavian government. It was a brave decision which has lanced the boil and rid the country of its cancer. The timing of the US$1b for the extradition is an unfortunate quid-pro-quo.
    Lloney, Antwerp

    The Yugoslavian Judiciary still lags behind in the reform process and is stacked with Milosevic cronies. In an ideal situation Yugoslavia should have had first go at him. But the reality is the local courts need to go through reform first or else we risk getting meaningless results. In the meantime let the Hague have a go. He's not going anywhere. The Serbs will get their chance.
    Mat F, Australia

    As an archaeology student, thinking of the recent loss of the Bamiyan Buddhas, I wonder if the shelling of Dubrovnik, a world heritage site, can be added to the charges against Milosevic?
    Scott Newman, Geelong, Australia

    It is plain and simple, money talks!

    Vinay, India
    It is right that Slobodan Milosovic has been brought to trial. The lack of due process in the latest saga. He was extradited and it is an open question whether his extradition was constitutional. Would any of the European countries or the United States accept one of their leaders being extradited out of their country without due process? It is plain and simple, money talks! This sets a very dangerous precedent. Poor countries please watch out!
    Vinay, India

    They should put him in the same cell with Clinton, and give them Mira to make their days more miserable. But, be careful, because they could corrupt your guards and judges!
    Milan, Yugoslavia

    I cannot believe what the president of Serbia has done. He has successfully broken the law and plunged the country into a crisis. This could have been prevented by following the law and he could have been sent to the Hague later. Now the country may fall apart thanks to a man who hid in Montenegro during the NATO bombing. I hope it is not too late for Kostunica to sort it out.
    Brane Pesic

    Milosevic will never get a fair trial at the Hague

    Mohammed Argungu, Abuja,Nigeria
    The extradition of Mr Milosevic to Hague was corrupt, wicked, illegal and unconstitutional. It is yet another confirmation that the question of international law and justice all boil down to whose interest is affected and what the US government wants. So it is obvious to every right thinking person that Mr Milosevic will never get a fair trial at the Hague and that his extradition was a corrupt conspiracy for selfish reasons.
    Mohammed Argungu, Abuja,Nigeria

    Judging from some of the comments by correspondents in non-Western countries, maybe we in the West should turn our backs on their inherent problems (for example, poverty and lack of human dignity resulting from bad governance) instead of trying to help. Of course, they will still clamour to reach our shores for a better life.
    Bob Bryan, Fremantle, Western Australia

    I think Nato, and in particular General Clarke, who ran the campaign of teror that killed thousands of civilians should go on trail.
    Paul Moro, USA

    Your comments before we went ON AIR

    Only after all the war criminals are behind prison bars will justice be fully satisfied. Milosevic is just a first step in the process. Karadzic, Mladic and countless other Bosnian Serbs and Serbian war criminals should have been in the cells long ago.
    Haris, Bosnia

    Arresting Milosevic is not enough justice. We will believe the tribunal if they deal with him as a terrible war criminal. To me, Milosevic is better off dead!
    Lilian Kimeto, Nairobi, Kenya

    Well done US, but when will Ariel Sharon for killings Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, Robert Mugabe, India's prime minister for war crimes in Kashmir, Vladimir Putin for war crimes in Chechnya, be brought to the Hague? You don't want to do that, do you?
    Temoor, UK

    Why not put some of the leaders from Asia or Africa on trial?

    Vladimir, Russia
    The West demonstrates extreme hypocrisy about extradition of Milosevic. Why not put some of the leaders from Asia or Africa on trial? I'm pretty sure there are plenty of candidates out there. No, West go the easy way - bargaining the former President of an independent country for money - like a casino chip. Milosevic is no angel, but the way of obtaining 'customers' for the Hague tribunal does piss me off.
    Vladimir, Russia

    I am happy I am not a Yugoslavian. To sell your former head of state for a promised $1.3 billion is just unbelievable. Very soon Serbia will realise it is just a promise. They should ask Russia what they got a decade after the break up of the Soviet Union.
    Joe Tobor, USA

    How come the USA never investigated killings conducted in Vietnam or Iraq? Why does the USA never care about killings in Sri Lanka?
    Raj, New Zealand

    Thanks to Mr Milosevic (but not only him, I agree)10 million people spent 12 years suffering, loosing their dearest ones, and their homes. What is one arrest compared to that? With what sentence can dead become alive again? But at least, last night Mr Milosevic and his family spent one sleepless night. At least that.
    Zdenka, Sarajevo

    Keeping Milosevic in Serbia would just have made him an eternal obstacle in our lives.

    Ivan, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
    As most young people in Serbia, I am glad Milosevic finally got extradited. It was high time we finished with him once and for all. Even after October 5th, he still remained as a shadow clouding our perspectives for the future. We have endured more than a decade of his ruling. Keeping Milosevic in Serbia would just have made him an eternal obstacle in our lives. Even though I don't have a high opinion of the Hague Tribunal I'm grateful for having a decisive enough Government that decided not to let one man endanger the future of a whole nation...At least, not any more.
    Ivan, Belgrade, Yugoslavia

    Serbia has done the right thing , by sending Milosevic to the Hague. I ask you when will Croatia , Bosnian Federation, Nato do the same? I don't think Croatia will ever send their generals or politicians to the kangaroo court .How many Serbs where killed in Krajina and how many where forced out of their homes? No kangaroo court for the Croats
    Milos Mihalovic, Pristina Serbia

    I'm thankful Milosevic is headed to the Hague for the sake of Croatia. Not just for vengeance's sake (though admittedly that has a part), but because it will be easier for the Croatian government to extradite its alleged war criminals in the eyes of the Croatian public. When Croatia's General Blaskic received his 40+ year sentence it was the first real destabilizer to the new-at-that-time Croatian government. The fact that the primary aggressors weren't being pursued made it difficult for Croatia to comply. Now with some Serbs on the dock, Croatia can flush a few more of its war scum out. Now let's see them bring in Mladic and Karazdic and then we'll have a fairer set of trials in a regional sense.
    Dk, Elkins, NH, USA

    Slobodan is as guilty as a whole host of other figures from East and West who ought to be in the dock with him

    Ivan, Zagreb, Croatia
    Slobodan is as guilty as a whole host of other figures from East and West who ought to be in the dock with him. The entire war has been a mired in the filthiest of political smoke and mirrors, arm-twisting and deals (otherwise known as "diplomacy"). I'm not convinced that the Western powers give a damn what he did, but his removal from power ensures that the West can get on with the business of making sure that Serbia is under the West's thumb.
    Ivan, Zagreb, Croatia

    If anybody should put Milosevic on trial it should be the Serbs. And if somebody should extradite someone that would have to be USA, Germany, UK, France. He is responsible for losing territories and Serbian lives. This is the greatest shame in the history of the Serbs. I only know that I could not live with myself if i had to extradite someone like Djindjic did.
    Vladimir, Belgrade,Serbia

    The only reason Slobodan Milosevic was handed over because Serbian people accuse him for losing four wars in less than 10 years, not because they think he was responsible for atrocities committed against humanity. Once they hand Karadjic and Mladic we may say that the Serbian people have purged themselves like the Germans did after the Second World War.
    Stevica, Croatia

    The call to prayer from the neighbourhood mosque here in Sarajevo sounded positively jubilant last night

    Peter, Bosnia Hercegovina
    I don't know if he's going to get a fair trial... probably not but I don't understand why did the prosecutor wanted him so bad in The Hague at this time IF they need one year to collect evidence. I mean where is the evidence upon which he's been convicted in the first place? Doesn't make sense to convict someone and yell about it if you haven't got any evidence yet.
    Dragutin, Yugoslavia

    Now, when Milosevic is on the way to Hague, I can see many killers smiling, defending themselves and trying to find justification for what they did. Yes I am talking about General Clark, Tony Blair, Gerhard Shroeder, Jaimy Shea and more. Since they need to clean themselves, I don't think they will let Milosevic have a fair trial, because fair trial would show the world real criminals - Albanians and Nato.
    Vladimir, Serb in the USA

    It is not possible for him to have a fair trial, simply because the sentence that would be fair, for the things he did, does not exist. If he would live for another 1,000 years he could not repay for the suffering he caused.
    Pedja, Croatia

    I think it's great that finally my brutal history is exported to Holland. I'm so glad that I have a smart prime minister. Now someone should charge Albanians for their crimes, Serbs are not the only bad ones.
    Branislav Petrovic, Yugoslavia

    The only reason Slobodan Milosevic was handed over because Serbian people accuse him for losing four wars in less than 10 years

    Stevica, Croatia
    The call to prayer from the neighbourhood mosque here in Sarajevo sounded positively jubilant last night. The feeling here among the local population and the local internationals is that this development was long overdue, but it is no less welcome for that.
    Since the Serbian government ignored a ruling of the Federation Constitutional Court, one might have some doubts as to whether the rule of law exists in the FRY, but that is an internal matter for that country to sort out. There is no doubt that as a matter of international law Milosevic had to be handed over.
    The next question is, when are Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic going to The Hague? They are rumoured to be living in the eastern Republika Srpska. Mladic is said actually to be enjoying the protection of the Republika Srpska army, which the Republika Srpska government denies. Their transfer to The Hague would certainly be a major contribution to the Bosnian peace process. It is now time to order SFOR to find them and arrest them. There is no satisfactory answer to the question why this has not already been done.
    Peter, Bosnia and Herzegovina (expat)

    No, he will not get a fair trial, but you will certainly have something to write about and some politically engaged "lawyers" will boost their careers.
    Alon Jabby, Yugoslavia

    Remember George Orwell's proverb: "All creatures are equal but some are more equal then others" What about the Croatian, Kosovo-Albanian, Bosniak and Western War Criminals?
    M van der Harst, The Hague, The Netherlands

    Milosevic will not get a fair trial - the ludicrous Lockerbie judgement is proof of that. Why are new charges relating to Bosnia and Croatia being cooked up if the evidence relating to Kosovo was so convincing? Milosevic has been declared a war criminal by Clinton, Blair, Cook etc. so it will take brave judges to defy them. There are none at The Hague.
    Gerard, London, UK

    Just to inform you how much the US Government recognizes The Hague. Our government is in the process of passing a bill (introduced by Senator Helms) which would prevent extradition of US citizens to the Hague. I smell a double standard!
    P.L., Detroit - USA

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