U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell should link U.S. financial support for Yugoslavia to cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Human Rights Watch urged that the setting of a date for a donors' conference on Yugoslavia should be tied to specific benchmarks.
"No donors' conference should be scheduled until Yugoslav citizens who have been indicted by the tribunal are sent to The Hague," said Holly Cartner, executive director of the Europe and Central Asia Division of Human Rights Watch. "Kostunica must also make a public commitment that Milosevic himself will be transferred to the custody of the tribunal."
On March 31, the Bush administration was required by law to certify that the Yugoslav authorities were cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in order for U.S. financial assistance to continue to the country. Human Rights Watch viewed the certification as premature, but welcomed Secretary Powell's comments at the time that future U.S. support for an international donors' conference would depend on "continued progress" by Yugoslavia in cooperating with the tribunal.
"The pressure exerted on Belgrade by the U.S. government during the first months of the Kostunica government had a positive impact," said Cartner. "But the Yugoslav authorities are still far from cooperating fully with the tribunal, and additional pressure is needed. The U.S. must make clear that it wants to see concrete progress toward cooperation with the tribunal in the short-term-and that U.S. support for international lending to Yugoslavia over the long-term depends on Milosevic standing trial in The Hague."
With regard to the ongoing impunity of indictees currently believed to be in Bosnia, Human Rights Watch welcomed the Bush administration's recent acknowledgment that Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic bear ultimate responsibility for Srebrenica and that they must be brought to justice. Human Rights Watch urged the administration to enlist U.S. troops in Bosnia to help apprehend the remaining war crimes indictees and to transfer them to The Hague.