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Jean-Jacques Joris, Intl War Crimes Tribunal
"The transfer of Milosevic is non-negotiable"
 real 28k

Keith Barron, London, UK
"Serbs should deal with Milosevic first"
 real 28k

Ian Gombos, Strasbourg, France
"Milosevic should be tried at The Hague"
 real 28k

Vesna Pilipovic, Yugoslavia
"Why does the West want to see him tried?"
 real 28k

Alan Farrar, North Cyprus
"Media influence has determined world opinion"
 real 28k

Ismael Aedam, The Maldives
"The Hague should try him in his absence"
 real 28k

Leif Nakken, Antwerp, Belgium
"Nato should be in the dock as well"
 real 28k

Mohammed Yabwe, The Gambia
"The will of the people should run its course"
 real 28k

Thursday, 19 April, 2001, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK
Milosevic arrest: Will justice be done?

The International War Crimes Tribunal has demanded the extradition of the former Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague.

Mr Milosevic is being held in Belgrade's Central Prison as Yugoslav authorities build their case against him.

But the tribunal insists that he should face wider-ranging charges of war crimes, assassinations, abductions, election fraud and gold smuggling.

Do the latest developments mean that justice will be done? Should Mr Milosevic be prosecuted by the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague, rather than in his native Yugoslavia?

Jean-Jacques Joris, the special political advisor to the International War Crimes Tribunal took your questions on "Talking Point on Air", broadcast by BBC World Service and webcast by BBC News Online.

Select the link below to watch Talking Point On Air

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

    I'm an Albanian living in the USA. I often ask myself what and who brought me here. As many would guess, unfortunately, thanks to Mr Butcher's genocide and persecution, my family ended up separated in the miserable Macedonian camps. Those who think that Milosevic is innocent or should not be tried in The Hague - they are his collaborators. Even if all war criminals were behind The Hague's bars, justice would not have been done compared to the mass killings they have committed. Nobody ever dares to mention this from high officials while the war profiteers are still chilling in their mansions. I'm afraid that justice will never be satisfied even if all of them would be behind bars. What comes around goes around!
    Berat Hyseni, Boston, USA


    I believe Milosevic must be tried in Yugoslavia first

    Vadiraj Kulkarni, USA
    I believe Milosevic must be tried in Yugoslavia first. This will enable the Yugoslavians to accept the sentences. Anything coming from an international court may be inherently perceived as that being imposed from the Western world/NATO.
    Vadiraj Kulkarni Hartford, Connecticut, USA

    Imagine if the majority of the population of Texas decided that they would like independence, organising terrorist activities, slaughtering the minority and causing havoc. America would send in their forces and iron out these rebels swiftly. Could we imagine Russia and other countries joining forces and taking part in a comprehensive bombing campaign against the US to stop this "cleansing"? I believe that the western powers, including the European countries that have traditionally been our (Serbia's) "allies", should be held accountable for the crimes that they have committed against a small country that has for centuries suffered and has never been given the chance to progress. Every effort should be made that the western leaders and governments pay what is needed to rebuild our country. The Serbian people have always been the victims of western tyranny and hidden political agendas. They twisted our arm and we failed to get down on our knees and beg. Mr Milosevic did the right thing in defending his people, their pride and our national interest, which is no one's business.
    Predrag Pantic, Melbourne, Australia

    It amazes me that the international community is so fixated on Milosovic. I doubt if he ever pulled the trigger of a gun, however it is a matter of record that hundreds of thousands of Serb paramilitary, police, soldiers and other thugs raped, murdered, tortured, and destroyed the lives of Kosovars, Bosnians, and Croats. These vermin are now living "peaceful" lives in Serbia. They should be held accountable for the many lives they destroyed - not only Milosovic.
    Steve Odum, Prishtine, Kosova


    Sending him to jail is just too little

    Ardi, Canada
    Milosevic = Hitler, both killed millions of innocent people. Both did racial war. Milosevic is a THIEF (stole money and gold from its own country), a LIAR (lied about election), a TERRORIST (killed over a million people in Balkans), and a DICTATOR (killed even his own army generals like Arkan). Milosevic has blood in his hands. One mad Milosevic massacred one million innocent women and children. Sending him to jail is just too little.
    Ardi, Toronto, Canada

    With the ICTY being established, staffed and funded by the same NATO countries that involved themselves in the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, the ensuing civil wars and the illegal bombardment of the current Yugoslavia, there is no question of Milosevic ever receiving a fair trail in The Hague. A key point to remember is that we are not talking about the World Court in The Hague, but a special-purpose tribunal conveniently located in the same city. If we were talking about the World Court or at least a permanent war crimes court applicable to all countries, there would be no opposition from Serbs to Milosevic's extradition. The difference between the two is more than semantic as this current tribunal conveniently dispenses with sections of the UN Charter dealing with crimes against peace, the greatest war crime of all. For the record, Yugoslavia was (even under Milosevic), and remains, an enthusiastic supporter of the establishment of a permanent war crimes court. Unfortunately the Americans are persistent in their refusal, citing concerns about the potential political nature of such trials.
    Aleks, Toronto, Canada

    Milosevic lost every war he embarked on. Milosevic always broke his promises. Milosevic also proved himself a coward. He was bluffing when he claimed that he would not be arrested alive, which he was. Milosevic is a war criminal, a coward and a loser. I have very little sympathy for this man. I hope he'll be judged in The Hague because that would send a very strong signal to present and future tyrants.
    Benjamin Sanchez, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    Milosevic has to go immediately to The Hague. He is responsible for the troubles of the Balkans, including the Serb majority because they gave him their vote and a mandate freely to commit genocide on the peoples of the Balkans.
    Armend Shkoza, Mitrovica, Kosovo


    Justice certainly won't be done in The Hague

    Olga,UK
    Justice certainly won't be done in The Hague. For justice to be done, there has to be a fair trial, and the chances of that happening are nil. It's enough to read the comments on this Talking Point to see that practically everyone has already decided the man is guilty of everything NATO, US and EU politicians and media have accused him of. A karmic justice might be achieved if Clinton, Albright, Blair, Cook, Solana, Robertson, etc, etc were to be extradited to Belgrade to face the Serbs' accusations of war crimes. Eventually he will probably be extradited to The Hague, the main purpose of which is to sentence him quickly to silence him - hopefully not before he has been allowed to spill the beans on the roles of Clinton, Blair, Albright etc, so that we get the opportunity to hear more about them.
    Olga, London, UK

    Milosevic should be tried first by Kosovan Albanians, after that by Bosnians, and after that he should be sent to HELL, not to The Hague.
    Besim Latifaj, Prishtina, Albania

    Milosevic will not be tried in The Hague - watch. Though I despise him and his supporters (wherever they maybe), in the name of Justice other leaders too should be tried. As bad as Milosevic is, American presidents have killed far more people in similar if not more brutal ways. How can we dare to claim JUSTICE when it is not applied to ALL? That is not justice - it is an affront to the universal value of EQUITY.
    Abu Mujahid, Ottawa, Canada

    The Milosevic era must come to an end since millions of people suffered because of his utopic 'Greater Serbia' dream. To set an example he must be tried at The Hague and sentenced properly to discourage other possible dictators. At least this way the victims will get some relief.
    Abdullah Baysak, Izmir, Turkey


    The people of Serbia have a greater right to seek justice against a man who has plundered their country and caused them to suffer

    Lisa, Chicago, USA
    Milosevic first should be tried in his country, and then Serbia should allow him to be tried by the War Crimes Tribunal. He should, however, first serve any prison sentence imposed on him by Serbia in Serbia. If he should live beyond any sentence imposed in Serbia, he can then begin to serve time for any sentence imposed on him by the War Crimes Tribunal. The people of Serbia have a greater right to seek justice against a man who has plundered their country and caused them to suffer, than has the international community to enforce its laws. I hope, that the Serbs recognize that Milosevic's trial by the War Crimes Tribunal will not diminish Serbian justice, but provides solid international support to any convictions he may receive in Serbia.
    Lisa, Chicago, USA

    The revolution began the downward spiral for Milosovic. The West, headed by Britain and America must now embrace Yugoslavia and start them on the long track to full membership of the international community. I desperately want Milosovic's crimes to be exploited to their fullest by the Hague, but Yugoslavia is a proud nation, full of proud people, and I am slightly sceptical as to whether the new government will want to give him to outsiders. The hope that can now be seen in a democratic parliament, which began last October, is up against the 'old guard' of men left over from the Milosovic era. Milosovic must face the full force of the judiciary system, but so must other alleged war criminals from Albania, Croatia, and Bosnia. I feel we should congratulate Yugoslavia, and try to get them to the same level as the former Eastern Block countries like Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Croatia is nearly there, and with the motion that will be gained from the perpetual imprisonment of Milosovic, Yugoslavia would once again become part of 'Europe'.
    Ed Alexander, Bath, England

    What about the thousands of generals and solders that executed the mass genocides and set up hundreds of rape camps as recreational activities. Justice is not yet served.. (it makes me sick)
    Ahmed el Naggar, Montreal/Canada


    Justice will not be complete until ALL war criminals in that ugly Balkan conflict are caught and tried

    Artem, New York, USA
    Milosevic is a war criminal and must face justice. However, justice will not be complete until ALL war criminals in that ugly Balkan conflict are caught and tried. That includes Croatians and Muslims as well, for they all have blood on their hands. The only innocents in that conflict were the civilians.
    Artem, New York, USA

    This is just another dirty game. Milosevic did the same thing in Bosnia, but at this time he was an important player and nobody mentioned his evident crimes. Hague is just an instrument to make one side black and the other white. And this is not justice. If America (or NATO) does not recognize the Hague tribunal to judge to their soldiers, why should anybody else?
    Dragan, Canada


    The statement that all sides to the Balkan wars are "equally guilty" is highly debatable

    Peter, Netherlands
    May I remind those who allege an "imbalance" in the policy of prosecuting people before the tribunal in The Hague that there are actually Croats and Bosnian Muslims indicted -- some of them are already serving their sentences. And the late Croatian president Franjo Tudjman, whom I would consider another important suspect, is unfortunately no longer able to answer any charges. Anyway, the statement that all sides to the Balkan wars are "equally guilty" is highly debatable, to say the least.
    Peter, Netherlands

    Milosevic should be tried in Serbia. The Serbian People overthrew him and they deserve to find out the whole truth. Yugoslavia should be encouraged in its new changes towards democracy, i.e. not constantly being pushed into things and made to hear ultimatums which the WEST likes to serve up to achieve its goals.
    Bobi Stanojevic, Sydney Australia

    Milosevic is a cunning brutal man who killed to achieve his goals. He and his "friends" got rich, he killed his friends when they started acting independent and so on.... Every side in the Balkan wars including Nato have committed crimes of ethnic cleansing (mass expulsion of Serbs out of Croatia and Kosovo), killing civilians and general use of terror. It is horrible but that is what happens in wars. If the west thinks it has better morals than anyone else in this world they should think again.
    Marko, UK


    Milosevic is only a scapegoat in this labyrinth of money and power

    Mitros Ouzos, Asprovalta, Greece
    I see that there are many people who judge this man. I did not know why he stayed in power for so long. Clinton's era proved that the Americans can govern and bomb anywhere. I an afraid that Milosevic is only a scapegoat of his NATO allies in this labyrinth of money and power.
    Mitros Ouzos, Asprovalta, Greece

    Milosevic killed more Serbs than anyone else! Through shady dealings with Serbian, Muslim, Croatian, and Western European counterparts, he both amassed a huge fortune and went on killing dissidents with it. Not only that, but he covertly helped (through political agreements) the powers that be cleanse 400,000 Serbs from the Krajina region of Croatia! The only thing I'm afraid of is that the Serbs will say hell with the trial and string him up!
    Krstan D Veleusic, Milwaukee, USA

    Belgrade has every right to try Slobodan Milosevic through its own criminal justice system before extraditing him to the Hague. The ICTY Prosecutor's report on the NATO bombing of Belgrade, whose purpose was to establish whether or not there was a prima facie case against NATO officers, answered this question in the negative, against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In fact what Mr Joris does not mention is that this conclusion was as absurd as it was unfortunate and that the report has long since come in for stinging criticism from many reputable international Criminal lawyers, on account of its lop-sidedness and glaring inadequacy.
    Emmanuel Bagenda, kampala, Uganda


    Kissinger first, then Milosevic

    Norman Ickringill, Vancouver Canada
    With respect to war crimes in general the matter of Henry Kissinger should take precedence over all the incidental despots like Milosevic. Since Noriega, Saddam Hussein and countless other yankee/british puppets have entered their black books, Mr Kissinger enjoys a universal immunity and a $30k speaking fee to boot. Kissinger first, then Milosevic.
    Norman Ickringill, Vancouver Canada

    Most of these comments are in favour of the West and I consider it as a great propaganda exercise! I don't support Milosevic, but neither Clinton and Tony Blair! If there is any justice in the world let's bring to justice the following criminals...Milosevic, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Sadam Hussein, Secretary of NATO! These individuals are responsible for the death of millions of innocent civilian in Yugoslavia and the Middle East.
    Selassie, Ethiopa

    Milosevic must first face a trial at home. It is absurd that an international tribunal (which by the way lost all credibility of "impartiality" when it refused to indict NATO generals for the bombing of civilian targets in Serbia) can take priority over a Serbian court trying a Serbian citizen over crimes committed in Serbia. As some have pointed out here, Milosevic is likely to lose what little support he has left when proof of corruption and abuse of power becomes more public. One way or another, he will answer for crimes that he has committed.
    Jovan, Belgrade, Serbia

    I think the best way out for Serbia and Mr Milosevic now is to offer him a suicide... He proved to be a loser and he lost every single battle he began, but the same goes for the UN since they couldn't get rid of the US influence and NATO as the only and sole "judges" of the entire world - it is their turn to be put on trial now... The UN has proved to be an international legal barrier for due protection of the interests of one part of the world.
    B. Jovanovski, Geneva, Switzerland


    Milosevic will be tried, but that doesn't mean justice is going to be done

    Arkady, Tokyo, Japan
    Milosevic will be tried, but that doesn't mean justice is going to be done. By the sound of things, he's contributed much more to the overall list of war crimes than anyone ever has. With that in mind, how can he ever repay, even spending time in jail?
    Arkady, Tokyo, Japan

    If The Hague prosecutes him, he'll probably be sentenced to life in the hotel-like luxury of Western jails where he will probably spend his time writing memoirs. If the Yugoslavs convict him, he is more than likely to face a firing squad or at least a life sentence in a real prison.
    Marc, England

    I see that there are many people who judge this man. I did not know why he stayed in power for so long. Clinton' s era proved that the Americans can govern and bomb anywhere. I an afraid that Milosevic is only a scapegoat of his Nato allies in this labyrinth of money and power.
    Mitros Ouzos, Asprovalta, Greece

    If the Hague prosecutes him, he'll probably be sentenced to life in the hotel-like luxury of Western jails where he will probably spend his time writing memoirs. If the Yugoslavs convict him, he is more than likely to face a firing squad or at least a life sentence in a real prison.
    Marc, UK

    A dose of Slavic justice at the hands of his fellow countrymen is going to be more severe than the "the Hague".
    Denver, San Diego, USA


    The international community support them for selfish reasons

    Desire Timngum, South Africa
    We cannot say that justice will be done in this case. Who is just to judge Milosevic? Why is his case different from others? There are so many African leaders who have committed serious war crimes, human rights violations, and even persecuted their own people yet the international community support them for selfish reasons. If Milosevic's case is a sign that the international community is up to the task to take serious measures against dictators around the world then I will suggest that Milosevic should be judged in the war crimes Tribunal at the Hague rather than his native Yougoslavia to ensure some sort of judicial neutrality and legitimacy to his case.
    Desire Timngum, South Africa

    He should stand trial, and Robert Mugabe with him. What frustrates me is that these tyrants seem to walk away - not only unpunished, but wealthier after exploiting their subjects. In a world where basic conversation is stifled by political correctness, how can these people get away with the kind of behaviour that we dare not even talk about?
    Andrew Lees, UK/South Africa


    Milosevic is unlikely to get a fair hearing wherever he is tried

    John Weir, UK
    Milosevic is unlikely to get a fair hearing wherever he is tried. However, The Hague would seem to be the fairest in the eyes of his victims, whereas a trial in Belgrade would not be.
    John Weir, UK

    I definitely think that he should be handed over to face charges. If he doesn't many more will follow in his footsteps thinking that they too can get away with 'murder'.
    Sally

    Yes, justice will be done. This man will have to stand before God one day.
    Lee, UK

    If Milosevic gets handed over to the International War Crimes Tribunal so should Blair, Clinton, Cook, ...
    Srboljub, UK

    Its time that the public learnt more about the true nature of The Hague Tribunal. This organ created by the Security Council is sinister in its operation. It receives funds from private sources, uses no jury, refuses to even investigate Nato war crimes committed in 1998, and does not have authority over any government despite the oft-repeated implication that it does. No country has any 'right' to impose selective 'justice' on other nations while excluding themselves from that same obligation. To do so is not justice but another form of imperialism.
    Hugh Gleaves, London, UK

    Let Milosevic be judged by his own people. Even his supporters will have to admit that he was living in luxury when his people were starving. Let them see that his son Marco was living like a playboy when other young men were being killed. Hopefully more criminals will be prosecuted after that, not only Serbs, but also Croats, Bosnians and Kosovars...
    Willy Cammaerts, Belgium


    When such a tribunal becomes deliberately selective in its functions, then it automatically looses its legitimacy

    UE, UK/ Nigeria
    The idea of an international tribunal which is able to try known rights violators must be a very good one indeed. However, when such a tribunal becomes deliberately selective in its functions, then it automatically looses its legitimacy. Why is Milosevich considered more monstrous than Henry Kissinger, or indeed, Margaret Thatcher?
    UE, UK/Nigeria

    You should understand the Balkans before you judge its leaders, people or customs. I see some "experts" here have spent a "whole" three years there and can tell you what happened. The rest know because CNN said so. The enemy is clearly identified as those who don't chew a burger and wear a baseball hat. Believe me the propaganda I've seen under a Communist government is nothing comparing to what I've seen in US. I guess it is so easy to judge because the highly developed NATO countries have completely overcome their ethnic problems. Don't you feel the Basques in Spain, the Irish in GB, the Kurds in Turkey, (sorry if I missed somebody) are under control just because CIA doesn't send them money.
    Peter, Bulgaria

    Of course justice can be done without going to the Hague. If the penalty in Yugoslavia results in the death penalty, then that will be justice.
    Chris, UK

    Repeat a lie enough times and it will become truth. And so the west continues to repeat its many lies. "Milosevic started and lost four wars".... Really? So who won? I can't see any winners. And how did he start it? By prematurely recognising Croatia and Bosnia? And what was to happen to the Serbs living in these newly formed nationalist countries? "Milosevic is solely responsible for the consequences in Kosovo"... So the West can bomb civilians, hospitals, TV stations, bridges, houses, factories and pollute a country and blame all of that on Milosevic. To me, it seems that the Serbs are not the only ones who need to come to terms with their actions in the former Yugoslavia.
    PK, Australia


    Serbia as a state must accept that it has a case to answer

    David Eddy, Bengkulu, Indonesia
    The most scary thing for me was that most Serbs considered themselves victims and did not think Serbia under Milosovic was a heinous aggressor. Whilst it is to be hoped that the International War Crimes Tribunal will deal with the many other individual and state criminal incidents, Serbia as a state must accept that it has a case to answer. The responses on your programme strongly suggest that the Balkan problem is going to rear its ugly head yet again, maybe in ten, twenty, fifty years time. Real scary.
    David Eddy, Bengkulu, Indonesia

    I do not completely agree with Peter Adams, UK and some others. They say that Nato bombed a sovereign country!! Nato is an alliance and everybody agreed to bomb a country that committed crimes in Bosnia and Kosovo and killed innocent unarmed children.
    Blerim, Kosova, Presheva Valley

    After reading the emails you have posted on Slobodan Milosevic, I am amazed on how everyone can point fingers at so many, and not just say, "What could I have done to help?". Should we all continue to blame each other, or should we try to rise above all of this. We must as people of this world reach out to one another and find the truth. Slobodan Milosevic should indeed be held for war crimes, so we may learn these truths.
    Wayne, USA

    Who cares where he's in jail? As long as he does the time for the crime.
    Mike Y, Boston, USA


    Asking the public what they think is next for Milosevic is a pointless gesture

    J. Fanning, UK
    I don't think that the public can decide what is next for the ex-Yugoslav leader. I think that the question implies that European civilians have a say in what becomes of the man. In my opinion prison is where he belongs, and nobody can change that. Asking the public what they think is next for Milosevic is a pointless gesture. The courts will decide where he goes from here. Frankly he deserves to remain in prison for the rest of his life.
    J. Fanning, UK

    It is unfortunate that Mr Murphy is living in the Twilight Zone. I worked for the UN in that part of the world for five years, and anyone who was there, be they UN or Nato troops knew who was responsible for the terrible atrocities that went on. A lot of people died because of nationalism.
    Joe, Dublin, Ireland

    In response to a statement by your guest, there is no "principle of proportionality" contained in the laws governing war crimes. The Nato bombing targeted the civilian infrastructure of Yugoslavia, adopting a tactic first used by the United States against Iraq. In one instance, among others, a chemical factory was destroyed, resulting in long-term damage to the health of the civilian population in that area. While I have no brief for Milosevic, this is clearly a political trial.
    Jeffrey Blankfort San Francisco

    Your comments during the programme


    Why on earth is the War Crimes Tribunal in such a hurry?

    John Chudley, Nafplion, Greece
    Why on earth is the War Crimes Tribunal in such a hurry? Let the Yugoslavs destroy his reputation in his own country first with corruption charges then when he is charged in The Hague he will have lost most of his support which could otherwise cause serious trouble. After all they are still charging world war criminals sixty years after the event.
    John Chudley, Nafplion, Greece

    With the rise of nationalism in the former Yugoslavia during the eighties many (not all) Croats, Serbs, Bosnian Muslims and Albanians wanted (and still want) to create their own countries along ethnic lines. Those who killed and are still killing to pursue this goal are equally guilty of crimes against humanity.
    G. Barron, London, UK

    Bringing Milosevic to trial is definitely an important thing. But there is one thing that is hardly ever talked about: The collective responsibility (not guilt) of the Serb people for what happened. After all, as one writer correctly stated, the majority of Serbs were behind Milosevic and the wars he started for over a decade. The popular movement that overthrew the dictator last autumn wasn't there when Serbs murdered and ethnically cleansed tens of thousands of innocent people in places like Sarajevo and Srebenica. When will Serb intellectuals start contemplating what is in their national psyche that made an entire people run amok?
    Wolfgang Thiele, Germany


    It is nonsense that Milosevic gained any support due to his arrest

    Stevan Damjanovic, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
    I just want to correct certain Boris from Serbia here. It is nonsense that Milosevic gained any support due to his arrest. On the contrary, about 60% of the people, according to the surveys taken, are strongly looking forward to seeing him tried first and foremost for the misery he brought to Serbia. As for Milsoevic ever playing again any kind of political role it is another unreality which is believed only by the very few of his supporters whose approximate age is 70-80. Neither they have future, nor their hero has one, except behind bars.
    Stevan Damjanovic, Belgrade, Yugoslavia

    Milosevic is no worse than any other world leader who is responsible for the death of others. Whether it be the US and Britain in the Gulf/ Balkans, the British in Northern Ireland or the Russians in Chechnya. Serbia needs to decide the fate of Milosevic and not the rest of the world.
    Jamie, Bournemouth, UK

    Is the Hague tribunal any more than a kangaroo court constituted by the western powers to be manipulated as an instrument of their foreign policy? Would it not be right to say that the judge, jury and the prosecutor are all rolled into one in the Hague tribunal
    Mohansingh, India


    There seems to be a true inability for countries to come to terms with their past

    Tom, Brussels, Belgium
    One of the problems with the Balkans, as far as I can see, is that there seems to be a true inability for countries to come to terms with their past. The wars in Croatia and Bosnia were still fuelled by "unsolved business" from the Second World War (and futher back...). This has to end. By putting Milosevic on trial, the Serbian people will be making the brave and difficult move of facing their own past, which they are determined to put it behind them. This is something that has rarely been done in the Balkans, and this could mark a great step forward for the future of both Serbia and the Balkans as a whole. Hopefully it will encourage neighbouring countries to do the same.
    Tom, Brussels, Belgium

    I was quite shocked to read some of the comments in this debate and the ignorance that actually surround this man's atrocities. As a British Soldier I have spent nearly 3 years on duty the Balkans. I have seen first hand the barbarity, suffering and atrocities committed in the name of Milosevic. The Serbian people deserve a fresh start on the world stage, lets hope that this is the beginning of the end to another horrible chapter in European history.
    Dave Allen, London, UK

    Go on and tell the mothers of victims in Bosnia and Kosova that Milosevic will be tried for corruption!! This is just not right. As an Albanian I have always tried not to generalise the Serbian war as the war of the entire Serbian nation but as the war of Milosevic. By seeing these comments above I am starting to think that he was just realising what his nation wanted. To destroy every neighbour's peace and stability. He was a madman! And everyone agreeing with him is too.
    Agon, Prishtina, Kosova

    Your comments before we went ON AIR


    He saw no problem in murdering hundreds of innocent people

    E.P. van Westen, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Milosevic is not a good-hearted person but in my opinion the one who should go to the war crimes tribunal is ex-president Clinton. He saw no problem in murdering hundreds of innocent people, destroying a quarter of the country and probably polluting many places with radioactive materials. Of course there is no question of him compensating all the innocent victims.
    E.P. van Westen, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    Justice can be done only if Russia, China and India will establish The International War Crimes Tribunal II to bring Nato criminals to justice also.
    Victor, Russia

    Many comments that I read here from Serbs echo the same sense of "victimhood" that Milosevic rhetorically used to deceive the Serbian people. Serbia and Milosevic started all four of the Balkan wars. They were the aggressors. They bear the lion's share of responsibility for the atrocities committed. But they have been reluctant to accept blame and move on as the Germans have done after World War II. The only way for the Serbian people to accept these hard truths after being lied to for 13 years by Milosevic is to try him and all indictees for war crimes. It is only then that they can truly reconcile and have peace with their neighbours.
    Daniel Zim, Alexandria, VA, USA


    It is important that Milosevic does not become a martyr in the eyes of Serbs

    Vitaca Milut, London, UK
    It is important that Milosevic does not become a martyr in the eyes of Serbs. Let him be exposed as a thief, liar, and assassin in a Serbian court first. Let him answer to his own people and afterwards it will be much easier to extradite him to The Hague. What is the rush anyway? He is only 55 and in good health.
    Vitaca Milut, London, UK

    If Yugoslavia sends Milosevic to the Hague it will only serve the West's interest, that is sweeping away their guilt of the Nato attack on Yugoslavia in 1999 and their present inaction towards ongoing Albanian nationalism which is based in "Nato-controlled" Kosovo.
    Ivan Petrovic, Ottawa, Canada

    When are we going to see someone stand trial for the crimes committed against the Serbs of Croatia, Bosnia AND Yugoslavia? Tens of thousands perished in the civil war(s), yet no-one seems to have murdered them. Did they commit mass suicide? No justice until ALL culprits are brought to court - and I don't mean The Hague. Let the Balkanites deal with their own villains.
    Tane, Zrenjanin, Serbia


    Where is the justice?

    David, London, UK
    Milosevic even if he is tried by the court in the Hague will have far more choice and freedom than the hundreds of thousands who were put to death on his orders. It exposes the fallacy of opponents of the death penalty that such a man - a war criminal - responsible for 1/4 million deaths and the rape of thousands of women will as the worst possible punishment get a life sentence and get to remain on this earth when he denied this to so many innocents. Where is the justice?
    David, London, UK

    Reading all these comments, I noticed how many people are under influence of US and UK media, which constantly serves an incorrect story about Serbia and its people. This man is not guilty! We voted for him for 13 years. That means that over 50% of the nation agreed with the things he did. He did the best he could to save our people in the rest of the republics of former Yugoslavia. After all, it must be said that both in Croatia and Bosnia lived Serbs with native people. In Croatia there were about 2.000.000 Serbs and in Bosnia much more. These Serbs are refugees now! While running away from Croatian forces they were bombed. Is that justice? This arrest is a big mistake. Remember that history is written by the ones who won. Like in the case of Vietnam, through decades it will be proven he was not wrong. It must be said that since this shameful arrest, he has gained support in Serbia. Like it or not, he will, probably be president again. If he would be the worst man in the world, we would not send him to The Hague.
    Boris, Serbia

    When I read Sean Murphy's posting, I realised that Orwell was right. Freedom is slavery, justice is injustice, and black is white.
    Jon Livesey, Sunnyvale, AC

    The Hague and the West talk about Yugoslavia's obligation to hand over Milosevic as part of international law, but where was the international law when Nato was bombing Yugoslavia illegally? I think it is weak for the West, Nato and other parties to attempt to blame all the suffering in the former Yugoslavia on Milosevic himself. It somehow tries to take the blame away for their own brutality.
    Peter Adams, UK


    History has proved that only injustice is applied by the victors to the losers

    Sean Murphy, London, England
    History has proved that only injustice is applied by the victors to the losers. The Hague war crimes tribunal is nothing more or less than a reincarnation of Nuremberg and the unjust show trials of the Stalin era. The real guilty perpetrators here are the ones who are demanding that Slobodan Milosevic stand trial.
    Sean Murphy, London, England

    There is nothing that can be done that will ever fully punish this man for his crimes. Atonement is not possible and if there is some higher being with the power to put right the harm that has been done then that is our only hope
    Jeff Dray, England

    Milosevic must be tried in Yugoslavia first and must also be held accountable to the War Crimes Tribunal. Milosevic as he often claimed was quite rightly democratically elected and as a result of this he must be held accountable for his actions. He is therefore responsible to the people he governed. The people of the Yugoslav Federation must begin the process of reconciliation and must begin to understand the depth of Milosevic's brutality.
    K. Barron, London

    The man is a tyrant, and deserves to be punished indefinitely for his crimes. He will not get a fair trial, but this is fine, because he was not a fair person. What comes around, goes around.
    Jeff Scholey, UK

    Was it only Croats, Muslims and Albanians that suffered during these horrible wars? No! Thousands of Serbs were killed too, by Nato, Croatian, Muslim and Albanian leaders. For justice to be done Milosevic should be tried for his crimes, but only if other leaders who are just as guilty as him, are brought to justice too.
    Nick C, UK


    The mental hurt is still there and will be present for generations to come

    Mateja Simic, UK
    I don't know whether Slobodan Milosevic should be tried in Serbia or the Hague. Either way, I know that he and his accomplices will perhaps never endure the suffering that millions of people in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo endured at the hand of their cruel political ideas. The actual physical hurt may have ended in Bosnia in 1995 but the mental hurt is still there and will be present for generations to come.
    Mateja Simic, UK

    Let's stop for a moment and remember what led to Nato's immediate intervention in the Balkans. Many lives were saved. Milosevic's trial at The Hague is a continuity of such action.
    Nora, USA

    The arrest of Slobodan Milosevic is a good first step in the long process of bringing him to justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Balkans. However, the international community must not relent as there are still other hardened war criminals out there masquerading as democratic leaders. In the long run, the world will be a better place when the Permanent International Criminal Court becomes fully operational.
    Abdul Rahman Lamin, USA

    Justice will only be done when all sides responsible for violence and crimes in the former Yugoslavia, not only Milosevic, face The Hague Tribunal.
    Alam, USA

    It is ridiculous to talk about "justice is being done" in the cases like Milosevic. The justice will never be done, at least not in the form of life that we know about. He couldn't have possibly managed all those crimes against humanity and four wars in the region on his own either. He has got many accomplices and he is not the only master minder. As for what he has done to Serbs, well, they voted for him and followed him in great numbers, so they deserved him.
    Hall Dyzi, UK


    Allowing Milosevic to become a martyr will only strengthen the divisions

    K Sadler, UK
    Reading the responses it is clear that opinions are totally polarised, which indicates that an unbiased trial would be impossible in Yugoslavia. The Hague seems the best place for the trial but with minimal or no US involvement since this is clearly a provocation. The jury could be chosen by the defence solicitors from a list of judges and magistrates from democracies around the world.

    Two things that must be avoided are allowing Milosevic to become a martyr will only strengthen the divisions, and allowing delays in the trial taking place. Uniting the region will take at least a generation but the sooner the process begins, the sooner Yugoslavia can find a permanent solution for herself.
    K Sadler, UK

    As a matter of fact justice must be done, but why only Milosevic? Just go back to the past and think about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and then think about Vietnam. What about the Middle East and Israel? Actually this word "justice" has been so much exploited by the US and western world that it has lost its real meaning.They always use this word to fulfil their own purposes and motives otherwise they are not interested whatever is happening with a weaker nation.
    Iqbal Khan, UK

    So far , we have not yet seen any dictator or someone from a comparable level in prison in recent years. Several have tried to bring Pinochet to justice, but he will probably die from old age before he receives just punishment. The international community now has the duty to demand Milosevic to be tried in the Hague. Especially the U.S. should push this process, as I don't see the EU capable off putting enough pressure in a joint effort. If this dictator cannot be pushed to appear in the Hague , I don't see anyone can ever in the future.
    Peter Bevers, Belgium

    Definitely justice will be done. But why has Milosevic alone been arrested? There are numerous war criminals and terrorist in this world, I do not know why the Bush government is interested in Milosevic's case alone. I felt very bad and ashamed of the Yugoslavian government because for want of money they are handing over their prestige to the American government. Why can't they try him in their own court. Is there no law at Yugoslavia? Will the Bush government arrest Sharon, Yasar and Osama?
    A.Bharath, India

    Why are people criticising the US for it's intervention in the Balkans? There is not a country in the world that comes close to the US in terms of economic power, military might, and over all world influence! Without the US asserting its power around the world, criminals like Milosevic would be free to act in whatever way he wants.
    Erik Goodell, USA


    The only gain for a trial being held in the Hague would be a political victory for some in the West

    Andrew Hoaglan, US
    Slobodan Milosevic should be held accountable for his actions in the wars in the Balkans and his programmes of ethnic cleansing against Albanians, Muslim Bosnians, and Croatians. It would be preferable for him to be tried in Yugoslavia because the only gain for trial being held in the Hague would be a political victory for some in the West. It is plausible that his own citizens can render proper justice in a Yugoslavian court.
    Andrew Hoaglan, US

    No other country has problems except Yugoslavia? The tragedy is great on all sides. Believe me there is no innocents in the Balkan conflicts. Be sure you have seen all the proof there is before judgement is placed on any nation or person. But Milosevic is guilty, because the nation that suffered the most is the one he ruled, and that is where he should be tried! Next to him should sit NATO, who thought breaking the UN rules and attacking a sovereign nation, with some collateral damage, is fine if they feel like it. Keep all your money and help your own nations. There is no nation without internal issues, and hence they shouldn't try to clean up anybody else's kitchen. Especially if that nation is built up on exploiting other nations, colonies, and/or commiting genocide on the native population.
    Darko, Yugoslavia

    I am strongly in favour of non-extradition. I believe that there can be no fair trial of any person on the world stage, let alone the fair trial of someone who has already been convicted in the world press. If Yugoslavia is to be accepted in the world then we should start by accepting their judgement in the matter of the trial of Mr. Milosevic.
    Ted, US

    Not only Milosevic but all politicians who committed crime should be tried and punished. Western countries and politicians too abuse power and always act as if they are above the law. There should be no one above the law including the UN. The US cannot act as a big brother. Will US politicians stand trail for crimes committed in other countries? For example shooting down an Iranian passenger aircraft, NATO bombing etc. If there is a policy it should apply to everyone. Otherwise there is no democracy, no justice.
    Siva, Canada

    No question that Milosevic should be tried. He is guilty of so many crimes that it would be pointless to debate about them. However, the only reason for the western governments demanding to see him in the Hague, is not because they like seeing justice done but because if Milosevic went to the Hague, they can blame the whole mess solely on him and therefore justify the NATO bombing of Serbia. In any war, and in politics in general, there are no black and white things. All is grey and too complicated. Everyone is a bad guy. We can't single out one man or one nation to be the only guilty party.
    Nikola Cobic, Serbian in London

    I think that there can be no comparison between Milosovic's actions and that of NATO during the Balkans campaign. NATO acted with the intention of bringing peace, that isn't easy to do. To say Milosovic acted in the interests of peace is ludicrous. Over the years various war criminals have been arrested or killed resisting arrest and its nice to see that there is some justice in the world. The next step is to bring him to the Hague to answer for the atrocities he ordered, after all if he is not guilty why should he fear it?
    D Ray, England


    Diplomats and politicians everywhere are nervous of setting precedents

    DRP, Ecuador
    Yes, justice will be done, but not completely. Milosevic will be tried - in Serbia - and in all probability convicted for gross corruption and election fraud. His major crimes, however, of fomenting war and genocide, and creating international instability, will go unpunished, for three reasons. First, President Kostunica will never agree to Milosevic's extradition. He is not much of an improvement as a president, being a fanatical Serb nationalist and will be reluctant to risk alienating future voters by sending a fellow Serb to The Hague.

    Second, there are still many people at the top echelons of Serb society who, whatever their actions in last October's revolution, actively colluded with Milosevic in his crimes. Finally, there is still not enough vigour in prosecuting war crimes at The Hague, for the simple reason that diplomats and politicians everywhere are nervous of setting precedents of bringing other politicians to book that could rebound on them in the future.
    DRP, Ecuador

    I wonder if "justice" is a proper word. I think now that Albanian terrorists are invading Macedonia it should be 100%clear to everybody who Milosevic was fighting two years ago in Kosovo. It will be the biggest hypocrisy in the recent history to judge the man who just did what he was supposed to - he defended his people from being exterminated by terrorists. Yes, Miloshevic is a communist, and if he did anything wrong, he should be judged by Yugoslavian laws, not by US ones.
    Serguei, Russia

    He should be tried for crimes against the state first. That should be Serbia's right, no matter how distasteful and insulting other people find it. He committed crimes against his own people as well. He should serve whatever sentence they deem fit for him. As for the War Crimes court in The Hague, they have a long memory and an awful lot of patience, they've demonstrated this with WWII Nazi war criminals. They're not going anywhere, they'll bide their time for as long as it takes if necessary. However, I am totally against some western nations threatening sanctions if he's not handed over. You cannot blackmail a sovereign country into handing over a native of that country even if he is Milosevic.
    Alex Banks, Wales, Living in Sweden

    I think it's shocking how so many can write in on Talking Point and defend Milosevic. Let us not forget what this man and his regime has done over the years, causing untold suffering and persecution on thousands of people. I defy anyone reading this to justify how the rape, torture and murder by those in power can ever be acceptable (If you don't think that this is a black-and-white situation, place yourself in the position of the person being tortured, just for a moment and try and 'see the bigger picture' then [re:Gordon Martin's comments].

    Whatever the mistakes of NATO, and I'm certainly not saying that they should be forgotten, let's get Milosevic in front of the war crimes tribunal in the Hague and for once send out a strong message to the world that the international community is not prepared to tolerate such horrendous violations of human rights in the 21st century, wherever they occur. This would be a very positive move.
    Matt, England

    First of all, nice to see that the media have found Milosevic guilty before a trial has even commenced. Also nice to see that Yugoslavia is such a democracy - arresting of opposition leaders by the government usually happens in democracies, doesn't it? Also good to see that all the troubles of the last ten years in the Balkans can be blamed on one man. Next time I am late for work or can't pay my rent I'm definitely going to blame it on Slobo. After, all it seems he's up for all charges at the moment.
    Rory, Britain

    Whatever he did whether it was right or wrong, he had full support of the people of Yugoslav otherwise he would not have stayed in power that long. Let those people of Yugoslav be the judge of his fate.
    Narinder Dogra, US


    It is typical of the black-and-white American mentality

    Georges F, Switzerland
    It is ridiculous to think that one single man, in this case Slobodan Milosevic, is solely responsible for the wars that occurred during the disintegration of a big country. It is typical of the black-and-white American mentality, but this can happen only in a Hollywood movie, not in reality.
    Georges F, Switzerland

    I won't believe this until I see him behind bars for good. I don't think "Dirty Slobo" is finished yet. Justice? How can there be justice for the thousands killed and many more lives destroyed, unless by locking him and his like up forever?
    Zarko, France

    Does it really matter where such a criminal should be tried from if justice is denied? If Milosevic is let free then the Yugoslav people will have been insulted. Milosevic's trial must therefore not be delayed
    Lilian Kimeto, Kenya

    The victims of the massacres in various republics of the former Yugoslavia can only receive justice in the hands of a court that is independent of all nations. Imperfect as it is, the Hague is the place for him to be put on trial.
    John Smith, UK

    Justice will not be done even if Milosevic is sent to the Hague because the Hague just serves as a way of helping USA achieve its political and propaganda objectives.
    Milan Popovic, Australia

    The only way in which this fragmented corner of Europe can progress into the 21st century is if those who have commited crimes are brought to justice. Milosevic was able to brain wash the Yugoslav people into fighting three usless wars. His propaganda is comparable to Hitler's. Whether he faces justice at home or abroad is secondary; whatever happens, the Serb people must purge themselves and accept the crimes that their leaders commited. Only then will the Balkans go forward.
    Boris Angelov, Toronto, Canada

    Slobodan Milosevic must really be hiding something if he has barricaded himself inside his own home, threatened to kill himself along with his family, begging the questions with the media, and cushioning his villa with supporters. It would be sweet redemption to see the many suffering people (Muslims, Croats, and others) prosecute him. firmly believe that if he is not tried for Crimes against Humanity, he's receiving the same treatment he did prior to his arrest - like a politican. Let' let the victims decide what happens to him next.
    Zubair, USA

    Yes, Milosevic should stand trial in the Hague. Yesterday the new US Ambassador-at-large used a CNN interview to pressure the Yugoslav government into handing him over. I waited to find out whether this means that the US now supports the establishment of a permanent International Court of Human Rights which can judge ALL those who transgress human rights - the question was never put. Why are the international media not asking this question?
    Andrew Jenkins, England in Albania

    It still amazes me that the Serbians show absolutely NO contrite whatsoever for their actions. They desire to be admitted to the EU and the UN, yet all they do is complain about how they are the victims in the war. They were so used to killing their neighbous that they were quite taken aback when they had their own noses bloodied by NATO. Then they whine about illegal bombing. Quite frankly I'm surprised Europe sat back for so long watching the horrors
    Jerry, USA (Ex-pat)

    I think Milosevic is no more dangerous than Clnton and Blair. I'm so tired of hearing how evil this man is and how he committed crimes against humanity when NATO strikes were just as much a vioation as anything Milosevic is accused of doing. We should put our personal feelings aside and look at the bigger picture. I guess kurstinica needs money pretty badly. If NATO says jump, weak, pathetic leaders ask, how high?
    Gordon Martin, USA

    Justice seems to have an ever-changing definition, but I suppose some level of Justice will be done if Milosevic is arrested and tried. He is but one of many bullies on our planet and I suppose that we take the ones that we can get. He had the unhappy fortune of plying his trade in a critical region of the world. One where his actions could not be ingnored. Naturally, I feel that his fate would normally rest in the hands of his own people, but then they did not seem to object too strongly while his minions were systematically murdering, raping, and torturing.
    George Milton, USA and Italy

    He ranks with Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler. He should be tried at an international court, not by the people who effectively carried out his orders.
    Ray Marsh, Australia

    Milosevic is a dangerous and destabilising force in the Balkans who has the blood of thousands on his hands. The Yugoslav government should hold this tyrant to account for the many crimes he perputated against its population. The more complex problem of a Hague trial is one that should be dealt with time; for the moment it is important for the Yugoslav government to try Milosevic and to totally discredit the man and his suporters. Foreign interference at this stage should be kept to a mininum. In the longer term, a Hague trial is neccessary to show that crimes against humanity will not be tolerated by the world community and, where found, severely dealt with - action not words will unequivocally send this message.
    Katherine, UK

    It seems to me that we are facing here two different problems. First, if one asks me whether Milosevic should be tried I would certainly answer that he should be. I was one of many, many people who were on the streets of Yugoslavia in the latest days of September last year demanding from Milosevic to admit that he lost elections and resign.

    On the other hand, I live in Novi Sad, the town which lost all three bridges in Nato air strikes, the town which is seriously polluted after the bombing of its oil industry. I saw the consequences of the bomb which had fallen between two civilian buildings, only 50 metres away from elementary school in Novi Sad.

    And the most important, I lost in the bombing a very close friend of mine, a great man who was in that time a teaching assistant at Department of Mathematics in Novi Sad.

    Will anyone ever answer to me and to other people all around the word how could that happen?

    So yes, in my opinion Milosevic should be tried. Nevertheless, only when all other leaders are treated in the same way (including Nato leaders) we could start talking about justice.
    Danijela, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia

    War crimes? Assassinations? Abductions? Election fraud? Gold smuggling? Sounds like the CIA.
    Simon Cameron, UK

    He must be arrested, and have a trial here, in Yugoslavia, and that should include other presidents of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina etc., if we are talking about some kind of "justice". Every criminal should have a fair trial in his own country... so should he. But don't forget Nato bombing... who will make a judgment of their actions???

    Or that is still a "collateral mistake"?
    Mina Maric, Yugoslavia

    It is very disgusting to see how those world hyenas are enjoying hunting one of the greatest Serbian leaders
    Zoran Lukic, Serbia

    The War Crimes Tribunal is a political court established and run by the West. It has little credibility anywhere else in the world. The Yugoslav authorities are free to do with Milosevic whatever they want to do; it is not Nato's or the West's business to stick their noses into this matter. Nato has already caused enough trouble in the Balkans. Let Serbia's new democratic system punish Milosevic for his anti-democratic activities.
    Rahul Mahajan, UK

    It is a far better outcome to have the Serbs deal with their own criminals, surely?! That is, a Serbian epiphany on what is right and what is wrong is a far more desirable outcome than having it reluctantly forced down their throats! Now, if only we could get the same outcome in Iraq ...
    Mark M Newdick, USA/UK

    If the Serbs are thinking of stepping on Kosovo land ever again they must prove that they are really regretting the misdeeds done by their people in our country. All we hear so far is that Serbs want Slobodan in jail because he has got their money. Sometimes I wonder do they realise what have they done to us? They don't care!
    Ali, Prishtina

    Milosevic is nothing more than a small town embezzler, not a war criminal. I think it is a bit rich for the Americans to moralise about minor civil wars like Kosovo, when they were responsible for the deaths of over two million people in the Vietnam conflict. Why weren't the likes of Nixon, Kissinger, et al., sent to The Hague for their alleged crimes?. Let his country deal with him.
    Chris, UK

    There are no two ways about it. Yugoslavia is obliged, under international law and as a member of the UN, to hand Milosevic over to the tribunal in The Hague. Let's face it. The Hague wants him on charges of crimes against humanity. Yugoslavia wants to try him for embezzlement. It's a joke.
    Peter, Bosnia and Herzegovina (expat)

    Milosevic was not the only player in the wars of the former Yugoslavia, others are equally as punishable. We must make sure that in insisting that Milosevic is tried in an international tribunal, the West is not merely trying to make up for its past acquiescence. Why did it not stop the wars in Yugoslavia? Because it had a scapegoat, Sloba.

    It is the peoples of the former Yugoslavia who have suffered most at the hands of Milosevic. The people of Serbia have been demonised in the eyes of the world, and they are the ones who have been plunged into abject poverty at his hands. Therefore it is THEY who should be the ones to have justice, and to punish Milosevic, not the international community.
    Kim Taylor, UK

    I must commend America on using the threat of cutting aid to my country as a way of getting Milosevic arrested. Having incurred sanctions and bombing and causing a whole lot of pain and misery to my people this was only the next logical step. Good work for cutting aid to people who really need it. Maybe bombing us for a second time wouldnt be so bad an idea. You speak of justice? Justice will be served when ALL sides from these conflicts are brought before a court. Cutting aid to a country that really needs it is the lowest of low. Thank you USA for proving to me that you are still as narrow-minded as you always were.
    Brane Pesic, Australia

    Although I have no sympathy for Milosevic, I don't see much point is pressing Yugoslavia to hand him over. It won't undo the atrocities he was responsible for, and it's unlikely to act as a deterrent to future potential war criminals. The Yugoslavs suffered enough under his rule, and now that they are turning their backs on wars, I don't see why the fate of one man should get in the way of this. Let them make up their own minds on whether to hand him over.
    CNS, Durham, England

    Sending Milosevic to the Hague to face international justice is only acceptable if the same standard is applied evenly to all players involved in the Balkans - including Croatia, BH, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, and the NATO forces involved in the Balkans

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    08 Dec 00 | Europe
    Yugoslavia seeks missing millions
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