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Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Serbian Government's co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. [119990]

The Serbia and Montenegro (SaM) authorities have taken several recent positive steps in co-operating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).In April this year, Serbia and Montenegro amended their legislation on co-operation with the ICTY to facilitate better compliance. Since January 2003, the Serbia and Montenegro authorities have transferred five ICTY indictees to the Hague: former Serbian president Milan Milutinovic; Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS); Miroslav Radic, a former Captain of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA); Franko Simatovic, former commander of the now disbanded Special Operations Unit of the Serbian Interior Ministry (Red Berets); the Jovica Stanisic, former Chief of the Republic of Serbia State Service.On 13 June 2003, I issued a press release in which I commended the Serbia and Montenegro authorities for the arrest of retired JNA Colonel Veselin Sljivancanin, who was indicted in 1995 for alleged involvement in war crimes committed near Vukovar, Croatia in 1991. His arrest is a further indication of the SaM authorities' determination to co-operate with the ICTY and I look forward to his transfer to The Hague.Full co-operation with the ICTY is needed in order to secure international aid and closer integration with Euro-Atlantic organisations. I urge the Serbia and Montenegro authorities to transfer all remaining ICTY indictees on SaM territory to The Hague and allow the ICTY full access to archives and witnesses.