Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev yesterday said Serb leaders had good reasons to reveal the fate of two French pilots missing in Bosnia and urged their release if they were alive. Recalling that Russia and France were the Serbs closest traditional allies, Kozyrev also was quoted by Itar-Tass news agency as calling for a suspension of moves to put Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Radko Mladic on trial for war crimes. "Russia, in accordance with the wish of the Bosnian Serb leadership has referred to The Hague, to the international tribunal for former Yugoslavia, the question of the freezing of the legal procedures concerning the condemnation of Radovan Karadzic and Radko Mladic," he said. The UN war crimes tribunal charged the Bosnian Serb leaders with orchestrating the massacre of 6,000 Moslem civilians after the fall of the Srebrenica enclave in July. France had demanded that the pilots, shot down during NATO air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs in August, be returned by yesterday, without specifying what it will do if they are not. (6)
Karadzic and Mladic might be more accepting of the Dayton Accord than they have shown themselves in recent days, if they were not convinced they personally had nothing to lose in opposing a peace agreement to the bitter end. Still, the Kozyrev initiative is unlikely to be acceptable to other members of the Contact Group, who would not wish an international legal judgment on a matter as serious as war crimes to appear fungible. For that reason, Russia’s attempt to respond to the request of its traditional Serb friends probably will only complicate matters and risk putting it on a collision course with the United States and other NATO countries.
Yeltsin Extends Federation Council’s Term in Office, Enabling Budget Debate.