- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell harshly criticized Yugoslav authorities yesterday for failing to deliver indicted war criminals to the international tribunal in The Hague and warned that it may cost them $40 million in U.S. aid.
Mr. Powell, who by law has to certify by the end of the month that Belgrade is cooperating with the court as one of three conditions for continued assistance, said, "If they are not deserving, they won't get it."
"As I approach the end of the month, just as I did when I had to make certifications last year, I will examine the total situation and see how it is consistent or inconsistent with the law that I have to certify under and whether good-faith efforts, as well as performance, has taken place," he said.
"They know what they have to do, and we'll keep the pressure on," the secretary told reporters at the State Department after meeting with Carla Del Ponte, the U.N. tribunal's chief prosecutor.
Although the government of Serbia, the bigger of the two Yugoslav republics, extradited former President Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague last year, the federal authorities have been more reluctant to cooperate with the court, especially on arresting former warlords Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.
Vojislav Kostunica, the current Yugoslav leader who in the past had denounced the tribunal as a tool of American foreign policy, said in an interview with The Washington Times last month that it had insufficient capacity "to cover everything that happened" in the Balkans during Mr. Milosevic's tenure.
Mrs. Del Ponte has complained about numerous hurdles the tribunal's staff has encountered on a series of visits to Yugoslavia.
"We have a lot of difficulties with Belgrade to obtain the cooperation we need to conduct our investigations and arrest of fugitives," she said yesterday.
Mr. Powell echoed her concerns and pledged Washington's help in the court's efforts.
"We noted a lack of progress on the part of the authorities in Belgrade with respect to the work of the tribunal, and I told her we would redouble our efforts to get the kind of cooperation we need with respect to access to archival material, turning over other officials putting in place domestic internal law," he said.
In addition to cooperating with the tribunal, Belgrade must end support for the Bosnian Serbs' security services and protect human rights if it wants to keep receiving U.S. aid and Washington's support for loans from the international financial institutions.
Mr. Powell praised Mrs. Del Ponte "for the superb work that she has been doing with respect to the Yugoslav and Rwanda tribunals," which he said the United States would continue to support.
"In due course, you would expect her work to be finished, but I can assure you that until her work is finished, the United States will be supporting her every step of the way," he said.


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