U.S. Offers $5M Reward for Justice
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The State Department announced a reward of up to $5 million Thursday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and other suspected war criminals indicted by an international tribunal.
Milosevic was indicted by the tribunal in the Netherlands for alleged crimes against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Other prominent figures wanted for alleged war crimes in the Balkans include Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, who are wanted for their alleged role in the massacre of 6,000 Bosnian Muslims in 1995. Karadzic is also wanted under a separate indictment for crimes that occurred earlier in the Bosnian war.
The rewards program was begun 10 years ago, and previously was directed at apprehending terrorists responsible for the killing of Americans.
Only about two dozen of 84 Bosnians of various ethnicities have been taken into custody at The Hague since the tribunal was created six years ago. Milosevic and four colleagues were indicted last month, a few days before he agreed to accept NATO’s terms for halting its air war over Yugoslavia.
State Department spokesman James Rubin said the reward is ``for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of persons indicted for serious violations of international humanitarian law by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia or for information leading to their transfer to or conviction by the tribunal.″
He said Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will use her discretion to determine the size of the reward if any of the accused are captured. The amount would be linked to the type of information provided and other factors.
Yugoslavia’s United Nations ambassador, Vladislav Jovanovic, denounced the reward, telling CNN it proved the U.N. tribunal ``is unfortunately a tool of the policy of the United States.″
It is widely acknowledged that Milosevic, with a highly trained security force protecting him, is beyond the reach of the tribunal.
Rubin seemed to acknowledge that when he said that the issue of war criminals is not one that applies ``to today or tomorrow.″
``It is our view that ultimately people indicted for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia will face justice in The Hague,″ he said. ``Their day will come. There is no statute of limitations.″
Karadzic has been the tribunal’s most wanted suspect. A former Bosnia Serb president, he has not been seen in public since September 1996. He is widely believed to be in the sector of Bosnia patrolled by French peacekeepers.
Mladic is a former Bosnian Serb military commander who was deposed in December 1996. Since then, he has been seen frequently in Serbia.
Rewards offered by the State Department were handed out for information that led to the capture of Ramsi Yousef, convicted mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing, and of Mir Aimal Kasi, a Pakistani sentenced to death in Virginia for murdering two people in 1993 outside CIA headquarters.
Identities of the recipients have not been disclosed.