Albania calls for Milosevic prosecution

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The Independent Online

Albania's president today demanded the immediate release of Kosovo Albanian prisoners held in Serbia and urged Yugoslavia's new leadership to send Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague for war crimes prosecution.

Albania's president today demanded the immediate release of Kosovo Albanian prisoners held in Serbia and urged Yugoslavia's new leadership to send Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague for war crimes prosecution.

President Rexhep Meidani told a summit of Balkan leaders that the region's instability was caused by "Belgrade's criminal regime" and that Milosevic and his associates must be sent to The Hague for trial by the UN tribunal, which indicted him last year for atrocities in Kosovo.

"The crisis in this territory started in Kosova in 1989, with Milosevic's advent to power and went on with the exercise of an expatriation and antihuman policy in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosova," Meidani told the summit, using the Albanian name for Kosovo.

Meidani said Milosevic and his policies must be "condemned clearly, openly and officially by the new political forces as an apology for wartime atrocities".

Meidani said a final decision on the status of Kosovo, which still remains a province of Yugoslavia's republic Serbia, can be found only after a democratic society is built in the province.

He insisted the decision should be made by the Kosovo people at a referendum.

"Only when multinational presence and multi-dimensional contribution has yielded the right results ... can we talk about a stable final political solution that is in accordance with the will of the Kosova people expressed by referendum," he said.

Meidani said that to ease tensions in Kosovo it is "absolutely necessary" to "release the political prisoners in Serbia" and provide information about the missing Albanians.

"Another step would be the explicit declaration condemning that sinister policy which gave rise to genocide ad ethnic cleansing as well as condemnation of all Yugoslav officials involved in the application of this policy who should be sacked from state jobs and brought to trial under international law," he said.

Meidani added that upcoming local elections in Kosovo, as well as possible general elections next year are "a vital milestone on the Kosova's population's path to self-government and self-determination".

"It is also important that the international community has realized that without Kosovar participation, international efforts to build the democratic society and the right institutions in Kosova could fail."

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