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War Crimes Tribunal Prosecutor Discusses Milosevic Arrest

Aired June 29, 2001 - 10:44   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you now to some other developing news. We've been following the story of the arrest and detention now of Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian leader. Let's go now to The Hague, where the war crimes tribunal prosecutor Carla Del Ponte is speaking.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

CARLA DEL PONTE, CHIEF PROSECUTOR: ... the decision to transfer him to the Hague was the right one and is fully justified by the international obligations shared by all member states of the United Nations. The legal process will now take over and as prosecutor, I'm very satisfied that events can now move into this new phase.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for all the hard work that my staff have already done in this case. But I recognize although that a great deal of work lies ahead of us.

As you know, I have been very active in recent months pressing for the arrest and transfer of all indicted persons. Today I wish to acknowledge the diplomatic support my office has received from the international community. In relation to this particular transfer, I am most grateful for the contribution made by the United States, and particularly by Secretary of State Colin Powell, by Chancellor Schroeder of Germany, by President Chirac of France.

I mention them since I was in personal touch with them in recent days. For yesterday's operation, I especially acknowledge the support extended by the United Kingdom and by the authorities here in the Netherlands.

The transfer of Slobodan Milosevic marked the real beginning of cooperation by Yugoslavia and I would like specifically to thank Prime Minister Djindjic and the government of Serbia for the key role they played. The support of all member states is necessary to ensure that the tribunal can perform the task that has been entrusted to it and so justice can be done.

I am also confident that the transfer of Slobodan Milosevic will now lend renewed energy to the task of arresting those fugitives who are still at liberty. Remember that there are still many other accused on other indictments who have not yet been taken into custody. Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic were first indicted almost six years ago. The fact that they not been arrested when we are preparing the trial of other members of the Bosnian-Serb leadership is scandalous. All our accused must be brought to trial. The transfer of Slobodan Milosevic is a turning point that all authorities throughout the former Yugoslavia must now recognize.

This tribunal was created by the security council of the United Nations as a measure to restore and maintain international peace and security. I firmly believe that there can be no lasting peace in a society unless the criminal justice system is allowed to take its course. Once indicted, leaders in even the highest position of power must be made to answer the allegations against them. The victims of horrendous crimes must be able to see that there is an effective mechanism for bringing these accused before a court of law to account for their actions.

HARRIS: We've been listening here to the chief prosecutor from the Hague, the war crimes tribunal, Carla Del Ponte. She is making comments in the wake of the arrest and detention of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian leader who is now going to be facing charges of crimes against humanity by the panel there at the Hague.

She expressed appreciation to the nations that actually helped in his, attaining his arrest. But she says much remains to be done, and in that regard, she says this arrest of Mr. Milosevic should add new energy to the efforts to arrest others who are still at large and responsible for war crimes named, and then she went on to name the former Bosnian President Radovan Karadzic and also the Bosnian General Ratko Mladic, who are still at large and somewhere in Eastern Europe.

We will continue to cover that story. As a matter of fact, our Christiane Amanpour is going to be having an exclusive interview with the chief prosecutor there, Carla Del Ponte, later here on the network. So make sure you don't miss that.

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