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Thursday, 27 December, 2001, 09:28 GMT
'Enough evidence' to convict Milosevic
Slobodan Milosevic appearing at the UN war crimes tribunal
Milosevic says the court is prejudiced against him
The chief prosecutor of the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague has said she is convinced there is now enough evidence for the former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic to be convicted of genocide.

Carla del Ponte
Del Ponte: Hague tribunal is model for international court
"I am convinced I can prove the guilt of Milosevic," said Carla Del Ponte in a rare interview for the BBC's Today programme.

Ms Del Ponte renewed her call for Mr Milosevic to face trial on charges of war crimes in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia at the same time, an idea recently rejected by tribunal judges.

His trial on charges of crimes against humanity in Kosovo, in 1999, is due to begin on 12 February.

'Fair trial'

Ms Del Ponte said a single trial was necessary to bring justice to all the victims and so that the evolution of his "criminal enterprise" could be followed.

Milosevic indictments
Genocide, Crimes against humanity, Grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, Violations of the laws or customs of war
Crimes against humanity, Grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, Violations of the laws or customs of war
Crimes against humanity, Violations of the laws or customs of war
Dates for his trial on charges of genocide in Bosnia Herzegovina and of crimes against humanity in Croatia have not yet been set.

Mr Milosevic claims that the tribunal is politically motivated and prejudiced against him, but Ms Del Ponte insisted in the interview that a fair trial was possible.

She also dismissed Mr Milosevic's objections that his transfer to the tribunal from Yugoslavia was unlawful.

"We are not concerned about the legal grounds that permit the transfer of the accused. Our task is to obtain the transfer," Ms Del Ponte said, adding that an initial hearing by Dutch authorities had dismissed Mr Milosevic's complaints.

Most wanted

Ms Del Ponte did not hide her frustration at the lack of progress in securing the two other men who top her indictment list.

She said that Nato forces in Bosnia knew the whereabouts of the Bosnian Serb wartime leader, Radovan Karadzic, who has been indicted on genocide charges.

General Ratko Mladic
Mladic: Moves freely within the Yugoslav federation
"I believe Nato knows [where Karadzic is] but moves too late to arrest him," Ms Del Ponte said.

In addition she said that it was "scandalous" that Mr Karadzic's general, Ratko Mladic, who also faces genocide charges, was still able to move freely within the Yugoslav federation.

She said he had been seen in a Belgrade restaurant several days earlier but was protected by the Yugoslav army, preventing his arrest.

She also said Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica was "a big obstacle" to General Mladic's arrest.

Mr Kostunica also objected, on legal grounds, to the transfer of Mr Milosevic to The Hague.

International court

Ms Del Ponte believes that the experience of the Hague tribunal will be valuable in setting up a permanent international criminal court, and says the tribunal provides a model for prosecuting someone like Osama Bin Laden.

She said the international court should be established despite American objections.

"Important is that the permanent court can start," she said, adding that US opinion may change with time.

The BBC's Mike Williams
"The Hague has become synonymous with the search for international justice"
Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor
"Milosevic must be confronted"
See also:

21 Dec 01 | Europe
Milosevic complains to Euro court
31 Aug 01 | Europe
Court rejects Milosevic challenge
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