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U.S. issues wanted poster of Balkans war crime suspects
Focus is Milosevic, Karadzic, Mladic
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. authorities have issued a wanted poster for Balkans war crimes suspects, including Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and two top Bosnian Serb leaders.
Milosevic, Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief, Gen. Ratko Mladic, have been indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal investigating the conduct of the Balkan wars of the 1990s. The poster, issued unilaterally by the United States, advertises a 9-month-old reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the capture and conviction of 30 war crimes suspects still at large.
Ten thousand posters will be distributed around Bosnia and Serbia, printed in Serbian, Croatian, Russian, German and English, said David Scheffer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes.
"We are putting a sharp focus on these three indictees, because it is time they should face justice for the heinous crimes for which they are charged," he said.
Milosevic and several top aides were indicted in 1999, during the war in Kosovo. NATO leaders accused Yugoslav troops of conducting a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" against ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province, prompting 11 weeks of allied aerial bombardment.
The charges against Karadzic and Mladic stem from atrocities reported in the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, where Bosnian Serbs conducted a similar campaign against the country's Muslim population.
'The tribunal did not object'
Thursday's U.S. action was taken independently of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Scheffer said he was not aware of similar efforts, but added, "The tribunal did not object to us doing this, also."
Milosevic remains in power in Belgrade, and Mladic is currently living in the Yugoslav capital as well, Scheffer said. Karadzic, meanwhile, lives in Pale, the capital of Bosnia's quasi-independent Serb republic.
Scheffer said the war crimes tribunal has urged Karadzic to turn himself in, but the U.N. peacekeeping force in Bosnia has made no move to forcibly arrest him.
"There is an element of patience that has to be experienced with respect to some of these indictees," he said.
Similar notices will be broadcast over television and radio, Scheffer said. He declined to discuss specifics.
The war crimes tribunal has cases against 35 suspects in custody on charges from the Balkan wars, including four Bosnian Serb generals and several paramilitary commanders. Another 30 remain at large, Scheffer said.
"But there seems to be the impression that without Milosevic, Karadzic and Mladic in custody, the tribunal has somehow failed in its mission," Scheffer said.
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