Conflict In Kosovo


Sir, - Jivco Jaksic (August 13th) claims that the Serbian Information Bureau, which he runs, is "an independent organisation ... concerned with the interests of the Serbian people."

If regurgitating the vile, often racist propaganda churned out by the Milosevic-controlled Tanjung News Agency in Belgrade, which accuses Kosovo's Albanians of every crime imaginable, is "independent", I have to question his use of the word.

Mr Jaksic talks about "dozens of suspected Muslim and Croat war criminals". According to a spokesman in the Hague, there is only one indicted (yes indicted, not "suspected") Croat war criminal at large. The rest are in custody.

To date, both the Hague and the United Nations Human Rights Commission state that only the Bosnian government has fully complied with the provisions of Dayton by handing over indicted war criminals for trial.

And no, Mr Jaksic, I do not believe people are guilty until proven innocent. But if they are indicted they have a case to answer, and that case should be heard in the Hague in accordance with the Dayton Accord which Milosevic signed. Most of the indicted war criminals are Serbs and most of them are still free.

The cases of the two Serbs who died in the Hague is rightly a cause for concern and should be investigated. As for the Hague being bad for Serb health, I could refer Mr Jaksic to the case of another indicted Serb war criminal, Mr Milan Simic, who surrendered voluntarily to the Hague. Early this year he was released on compassionate grounds pending his trial, because of poor health.

I believe that the real reason Mr Jaksic bad-mouths the Hague Tribunal is because it has established that Serb forces in Bosnia did carry out war crimes including rape, something he has denied for years.

Mr Jaksic mentions the nationalist past of presidents Tudjman and Izetbegovic. However, he forgot to mention the role played by Milan Kucan, President of Slovenia, who was never a nationalist, but a communist. Yet even for him the sight of Serb police battering peaceful Kosavar demonstrations in 1989 and Milosevic's overnight conversion from Stalinist to super-Serb proved too much. To this day Mr Kucan says that it was the Serbian government's actions that prompted Slovenia to leave Yugoslavia.

It may take two, three or four to tango, but it was Mr Milosevic who has danced over Yugoslavia's grave, helped by the formidable firepower of one of Europe's largest armies, the Yugoslav army. - Yours, etc., Sean Steele,

Kilfenora Road, Kimmage, Dublin 12.