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Statement by Carla del Ponte, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia made on 6 October 2000.

Press Release . Communiqué de presse
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)


The Hague, 6 October 2000




My presence in Pristina today marks the end of my week long mission to Bosnia, Herzegovina and Kosovo. In Sarajevo and Banja Luka this week, and in Washington last week, I have been pressing for the arrest of all fugitives who have been indicted by the Hague Tribunal, in particular Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. Only by their standing trial on our indictment in The Hague, can a
lasting and just peace pave the way for true reconciliation in Bosnia.

In Banja Luka I was very pleased to receive the assurance of Prime Minister Dodik that his government is prepared to open investigations and to bring to justice the killers who were responsible for the thousands of murders involving the Muslim victims of Srebrenica in 1995. This is a very positive development, which would see The Hague Tribunal prosecuting the higher level
perpetrators and the Republika Srprska would prosecute lower level perpetrators. I am willing to co-operate with the Republika Srprska if Mr. Dodik is serious in relation to this new initiative.

In relation to my visit to Kosovo, I am able to report that the forensic investigation being undertaken by and on behalf of my Office this year will come to an end at the end of this month. It is too early for me to issue details relating to the numbers of victims exhumed over the last two years. My staff will need to collate all the reports from the many national exhumation teams
that have assisted my Office this year. Although I can say that there will be in excess of 4,000 bodies that have been recovered and examined.

I am aware that there have been reports in the local media that certain political parties here in Kosovo have passed documents and lists of alleged Kosovar Albanian war criminals to the Tribunal. I wish to refute this allegation. ICTY has had no such contact with any political party here in Kosovo and has received no such documents. I hope this clarifies the point and puts an end
to such fabrications.

It is appropriate for me to express my surprise and delight to see the dramatic events unfolding in Belgrade over the recent days and the apparent success of the popular revolution taking place there by the ordinary citizens of Serbia. I hope we soon see the establishment of a true democracy in Yugoslavia and a return to the rule of law. The true will of the people was expressed in
the streets of Belgrade yesterday and I wish them every success with their newfound democracy.

Regarding Milosevic, I take this occasion to send the message to the President Elect, Mr. Kostunica, that I am prepared to receive Milosevic in The Hague at any time. It is my hope and expectation that the people of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in their legitimate aspiration to justice, shall express their will to see Milosevic brought to trial in The Hague. I truly believe
that this is the only solution if there is to be a true and lasting peace in the Balkans and if the people of Yugoslavia are to enjoy a democratic existence and to be fully accepted back into the international community.