US calls for trial of Balkan war criminals

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The Independent Online
THE US Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger, yesterday demanded the prosecution of war criminals in the former Yugoslavia. Such people should be brought to justice 'exactly as were Hitler's associates at Nuremberg', he told a meeting in Stockholm of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE).

He also said the US wanted a substantial and urgent incrEease in a CSCE mission in the Serbian-ruled province of Kosovo tTHER write erroro prevent war breaking out between Serbs and Albanians there. The US was ready to contribute to the effort, he said.

Other Western nations made clear they were also toughening their Yugoslav policies. France will introduce a motion at the UN Security Council this week to authorise military force to back up a 'no-fly zone' in Bosnia. The Dutch Defence Ministry offered to send 18 F-16 aircraft to enforce the zone once the Security Council gives the go-ahead.

A UN-brokered ceasefire failed to take effect in Sarajevo yesterday as shelling and artillery exchanges rocked hills in the northern suburbs. UN chiefs held talks with the rival sides aimed at setting up three land corridors out of the city. The idea is to help evacuate civilians who want to leave, but critics fear it is a Serbian-sponsored plan intended to move people out of the way before Serbian forces launch a final offensive.

The reopening last week of the airport has not relieved the threat of starvation facing Sarajevo's nearly 400,000 inhabitants, according to the deputy UN chief in the former Yugoslavia, Cedric Thornberry. Most countries that supply the planes used for humanitarian flights are unwilling to place their crews at risk by restarting flights, he added.

Faced with the mounting threat of Western military intervention, Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader, announced that he would urge his ethnic group's parliament to declare a unilateral end to hostilities on 17 December. Mr Karadzic said it was clear that the Serbs had won. The proposal is likely to have minimal effect on the fighting in Bosnia, for there are doubts over the extent of Mr Karadzic's authority over Bosnian Serbs.

In Belgrade, Milan Panic, the main challenger to Slobodan Milosevic in next Sunday's presidential elections, said that he must win if peace were to be ensured in the Balkans. Accusing the state-run media of disseminating 'terrible accusations and monstrous lies' against him, he claimed that the latest opinion polls still gave him a 20 per cent lead over Mr Milosevic. 'If the election was held today, I would certainly win,' he said.

Mr Panic, a Serbian-born Californian businessman, said the election might not meet Western standards. 'If you expect an English election, it won't be,' he said. 'It is a step on the long road to a democratic Yugoslavia. The election will not be fair but I will work on that. We must guard every box, which you do not need to do in other parts of the world.'