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Monday, 18 June, 2001, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Milosevic prosecution in trouble
Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica addresses the federal parliament
Kostunica's rebuilding depends on how Milosevic is dealt with
The plan to hand over of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to a United Nations court is in jeopardy.

A Yugoslav draft law paving the way for the handing over of war crimes suspects now looks like it will not be passed by the Yugoslav Parliament.


All deputies will vote against the draft law

SNP spokesman Dragan Koprivica

The Montenegro's Socialist People's Party (SNP), a junior partner in Yugoslavia's ruling coalition, said all its deputies would vote against the bill.

It is opposed to the extradition of Yugoslav citizens to the court in the Hague.

Parliament is expected to meet on Thursday to discuss the draft law on cooperation with the UN tribunal, which has indicted Mr Milosevic and four top aides on war crimes charges.

Kosovo trouble

The charges arise from Belgrade's crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo province.

Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic continues to be a top target of the war crimes tribunal
"All deputies will vote against the draft law," said SNP spokesman Dragan Koprivica after a meeting of party MPs in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica.

"The SNP deputies in both chambers of the Yugoslav federal parliament have decided to fully support the decisions made by the SNP main board and all the party's local boards regarding the draft law on cooperation with the Hague Tribunal," he said.

The coastal republic of Montenegro is Serbia's smaller partner in the Yugoslav federation.

Yugoslavia is under international pressure to step up cooperation with the UN tribunal ahead of a donors conference later this month at which it hopes to raise more than $1 bn for the impoverished economy.


This is a serious state problem if the law is not passed in the parliament

Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus
Serbia's ruling DOS alliance is the biggest group in parliament but still needs the backing of its Montenegrin partner to secure an absolute majority.

The government adopted the draft bill last Thursday, but all seven Montenegrin ministers voted against it, sources said.

Failure to agree on the law could undermine efforts to attract crucial foreign funds for an economy virtually bankrupt after a decade of wars and isolation under Mr Milosevic's rule.

Warning

Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus warned last Friday that the government could fall and the federation could break up if the law was not adopted by parliament.

"If the state breaks up, it would not only mean Montenegro going, but also Kosovo. Therefore, this is a serious state problem if the law is not passed in the parliament," he said.

The UN tribunal has demanded a swift handover of Mr Milosevic who was ousted as Yugoslav leader last October and arrested on 1 April for alleged abuse of power.

Trial

The demand has so far been rebuffed by the country's new rulers, who first want to try him at home.

In a separate development a Belgrade district court has ended an investigation into Mr Milosevic.

"Following the end of the investigation, a magistrate sent today the file to the public prosecutor," the statement, carried by Beta news agency, said on Monday.

Milosevic's allies

An inquiry was also finished into three of Milosevic's closest allies: Ex-Yugoslav deputy prime ministers Jovan Zebic and Nikola Sainovic and former chief of Yugoslav customs Mihalj Kertes, the statement said.

The prosecutor has now to decide whether to bring formal charges against the four.

Mr Milosevic is being detained in Belgrade Central Prison pending charges.

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18 Apr 01 | Europe
Milosevic's life behind bars
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