Tue, 07 Nov 2000

Time running out for Milosevic

Time is running out for (former Yugoslav President) Slobodan Milosevic. The long arm of the law will reach him. If Milosevic is not sent to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague (Netherlands) there will be a trial in Belgrade. Justice will be done, and the victims will obtain redress.

Since the autumn miracle in Yugoslavia, which led to Vojislav Kostunica being sworn in as president and developments took a new path, Milosevic's future has been an open question. The U.S. and the EU have pressed to get him extradited to The Hague. Kostunica has been reticent. Milosevic has been able to move around without restrictions.

In an American TV interview Kostunica says that Milosevic will stand trial, "somewhere." Thereby another big step toward normalization of Yugoslavia is taken. But Kostunica went further than that in the CBS interview. He admitted that Yugoslav security forces had committed genocide in Kosovo -- and that he was prepared to take responsibility for this. The statement is important to get the Serbs to see the reality behind the smoke screens laid out by Milosevic; a time of soul-searching must come.

That Kostunica makes things plain also has a bearing on the relations with the Kosovo Albanians and with those of the neighboring countries who have doubted the intentions of the new regime. Another question mark about the new president's politics has been wiped clean. Vojislav Kostunica continues to impress.

-- Svenska Dagbladet, Stockholm