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Milosevic Reportedly Handed Over

June 28, 2001

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Slobodan Milosevic was handed over to an official of the U.N. war crimes tribunal Thursday, according to local news reports, in the apparent start of his extradition for trial before the Netherlands-based court for alleged Kosovo atrocities.

Reporters at Belgrade’s Central Prison saw a motorcade leaving the building for an undisclosed location but could not verify if Milosevic was in one of the cars.

Milosevic would be the first former head of any government to be brought before the war crimes tribunal. The former Yugoslav president was indicted for alleged atrocities committed in Kosovo during the crackdown he ordered two years ago on the province’s ethnic Albanian population. The crackdown ended after NATO’s 78-day bombing campaign.

``Milosevic is on his way to The Hague,″ the independent B-92 radio station said. The Beta news agency, which like B-92 has reliable government sources, also said that Milosevic’s handover was ``under way.″

B-92 did not quote a source for its report, which came just hours after Milosevic appeared to have won more time in his fight to avoid trial by the tribunal when Constitutional Court judges suspended a federal government decree allowing his extradition to the court at The Hague.

Any decision to extradite Milosevic would likely have come from the government of Serbia, which together with Montenegro makes up the Yugoslav federation. Senior Serbian officials had served notice they would surrender Milosevic to the tribunal even if the Constitutional Court suspended the decree.

He has been in prison since April 1 while allegations of abuse of power and corruption are investigated.

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