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Should Nato treat Slobodan Milosevic as a war criminal?

"Teams of lawyers are less expensive than rows of tanks and Tornados."
Geoffrey Robertson, lawyer and author.

"There is not going to be a ground invasion of Yugoslavia, which is what has to happen before Mr Milosevic can be put up in person for trial."
Andrew Roberts, historian and journalist.

To listen to both sides of the debate click here
Listen to our debate hosted by Mark Reid. Do you agree with the views of our contributors?

Background ¦ Your reaction ¦ Listen to the debate

The Background:

Kosovo: Special Report
A month after the start of airstrikes against Yugoslavia, the Nato allies are increasingly aware that it will take longer than they might have first thought to evict President Slobodan Milosevic's forces from the Serbian province of Kosovo - if, indeed, they manage to do so at all.

The war has raised many questions in Western Europe and beyond.

Talking Point - Europewide
Some critics accuse the politicians of being unclear about the basic objectives of Nato's mission, while others say the United States and Western Europe just don't understand the Balkan region.

Does Balkan realpolitik dictate that the West must deal with President Milosevic - or should it prosecute him instead as a suspected war criminal?

Background ¦ Your reaction ¦ Listen to the debate

Your Reaction:

Charging someone from the Balkans with murder is like passing out speeding tickets at the Indianapolis 500 (That's an automobile race). Let's just put up or shut up. Invade with overwhelming force and meet our objectives, or pull out! Our goal is not putting that pitiful excuse for a human on trial, it is to allow the Kosovar Albanians a chance to live in peace.
Gene, USA

Why USA insists in sending Nato troops and not UN as peacekeeper? Just think about it. USA provoked the tension by supporting the extremists of KLA. Human rights are just the excuse for interfering for geopolitical reasons. History is full of similar cases. Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia to ''protect'' German Sudites from ''genocide''. What a hypocrisy. Turkey (slaughtering Kurds at this time) participates in the operation. ''Good faith'' of Nato is not guaranteed. Not now even more for the future. If Nato has proof (not suspicion) of Serbian atrocities why not show us. Spy satellites can zoom even to a coin why Nato shows distant pictures? The only atrocities that are committed by no doubt are from Nato. Imagine that Nato at first accused Yugoslavia for Aleksinac, the train and the convoy. Nato was proved to lie repeatedly (about Rugova, Arkan etc). Why we have to believe the purposes claimed?
Defkalion Tsagarakis, Greece

I cannot believe that anyone can think Milosevic is anything but a war criminal. Does he have to gas 6 million Jews like Hitler or murder tens of millions of his countrymen like Stalin before we sit up and take notice? The man is a murderer and what is even worse is that he is having the Kosovars 'ethnically cleansed' in the name of his own people.
Andrew Chesny, UK

My aunt just told me over the phone from Belgrade: "they are bombing us day and night_us instead of that war criminal...I guess we asked for it". When will the rest of Serbia accept the fact that Milosevic is using them to protect himself? One day he will just quietly disappear like Karadzic and Mladic. They will be sunbathing in Cyprus while the Serbian population will be under the ruins. Get Milosevic to court before he makes even more damage to the world.
I.G.Skovgaard, Denmark

Milosevic should be held responsible for the mass murders (ethnic cleansing) that has occurred in Kosovo. Also, all of Milosevic's top advisors and military leaders should also be brought before the World court and held responsible for their actions in the terrible carnage in Kosovo. The World should never allow such acts to ever go unpunished again. If the World does not then other dictators will believe that they too can get away with such crimes; it is time to put a stop to these murderous acts once and for all the good of all peoples around the world.
Jack Halpin, USA

If Milosevic is treated as war criminal (I just wonder how come you remember to accuse him only now) then Mr Clinton, Mrs Albright, Mr Shea and all others directly involved in commanding this 'humanitarian intervention' should sit for trial for the same reason. Because their (Nato's and USA's) intervention involves using of Depleted Uranium bombs, destruction of chemical complexes in Pancevo and Belgrade thus causing environmental disaster and endangering directly lives of at least 3.000000 people in the surrounding by toxic gases and marerials. Danube, the biggest European river is dead from Belgrade to the Black Sea. Who is responsible for that?
Dusica, Australia

If Milosevic is tried for war crimes, then so should every other leader who has approved acts of ethnic cleansing. I would suggest Bulent Ecevit to be next. After all, he was the leader of Turkey who gave the go-ahead for Turkish forces to invade Cyprus in 1974 and ethnically cleanse 200,000 people from the northern part of the island. These forces continue to illegally occupy Cyprus, conveniently ignored by the international community, and the refugees are still prevented from returning to their homes. Once Nato has finished in Serbia, can we expect it to turn its weapons on Turkey?
Angela Ioannou, UK

How else can we make the other 'high rank' terrorists think? This is useful - to indict him like Hitler. I hope it will be a wide practice in the next century. This century is already full of barbaric actions. I cannot understand English citizens who says 'no'. Maybe they should learn more history. Of course, it must be only an International court.
Timeev Artem, Russia

Not only should Milosevic be tried for war crimes and all the suffering he brought to the Balkans, but there should be a Nuremberg-style trial for all his close associates. Milosevic should be punished for crimes against his own people - he is the man who taught the Serbs to hate.
Slavi Rader, Sweden

I believe that the United Nations should find a clear position against dictators, mass murders and war criminals.
Uwe Middendorf, Germany

I ask you: how does it happen, that, yet again, a single man - taking Milosevic as one prime example - can become the sole guardian of millions of people, when his interests are completely selfish and power-seeking? Is a man like him ever anything but?
Miriam, Ireland

Yes, he should be for an example before the world to behold. It is the high time we have gotten rid of dictators and such. I hope this turns out to be a good message for all those like Greeks in Cyprus, or Serbs in Kosova, or terrorists in Rwanda, who think that by bloodshed they could reach their goal by Nazi-era means. We have to create a universal standard of living and existence for all to be.
Serhan Ozdemir, Turkey

Milosevic should be indicated for war crimes but so should Clinton, Blair and other Nato premiers guilty of crimes all over the world.
Lucia, Italy

Leaders of nations should be held accountable for what happens when they are in power. Milosevic is aware of what is going on in Kosovo and he has neither condemned it nor condoned it. He is quite obviously hungry for the power and must pay the price when this savagery is over. He must not be able to pass the buck because he sits at the top.
Andrew Parker, Norway

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