- The Washington Times - Friday, March 29, 2002

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia Yugoslavia is expected to arrest some Serbian war crimes suspects shortly, to meet a U.S. deadline for the fledgling democracy to win continued American aid.
The United States has given Yugoslavia until Sunday to cooperate with the international war crime tribunal or risk losing $120 million in financial assistance.
Though unhappy with the U.S. restrictions, Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica has said he intends to comply.
"There must be cooperation with The Hague tribunal, but I have to admit that I feel sick to my stomach when I think about that court, with a horrific degree of its prejudices that are shown through its proceedings," Mr. Kostunica told Serbian state television on Wednesday.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell will make a decision about certification over the weekend.
Given history, the deadline is likely to produce results: It was on March 30 of last year that Serbian forces moved to arrest former President Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade ahead of a similar deadline.
Another ultimatum before a donors conference last summer convinced the authorities to extradite Mr. Milosevic to The Hague, where he is now facing trial for atrocities committed in Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s.
Exactly who will be arrested this time around is the subject of much media speculation and cafe conversation.
Among the suspects sought by the tribunal are former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his wartime military commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic. Gen. Mladic is known to be hiding in Serbia; Mr. Karadzic's whereabouts are unknown.
The most likely suspects to be extradited are some of the four former top leaders indicted along with Mr. Milosevic, or a trio of former Yugoslav generals known as the "Vukovar Three" who are suspected of atrocities in that Croatian city in the early 1990s.
But Gen. Mladic is likely to remain secure in Serbia where, many say, he remains full time with the collusion of the Yugoslav Army, known by its Serbian initials VJ.
The Belgrade newspaper Blic reported this week, quoting unnamed sources, that the army recalled the 30-member unit that had been guarding Gen. Mladic, leaving him with just two civilian guards.
Belgrade analyst Bratislav Grubacic said arresting Gen. Mladic "would be a big damage to the Serbian government." He said it is more likely that the authorities will try to quietly push him out of the country.


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