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Milosevic to Stand Trial at The Hague

In an extraordinary and rapid turn of events, former Yugolosav President Slobodan Milosevic has been extradited to the Netherlands, where he will be tried by the UN War Crimes Tribunal, sitting in The Hague. Milosevic was ordered to make his first court appearance next Tuesday. The first head of state to be tried by the Tribunal, the former Yugoslav President will be charged with crimes against humanity for his actions in the decade-long ethnic conflict in the Balkans. The extradition of Milosevic was far from certain until almost the last moment. While the ex-president's power base in Serbia has rapidly dissolved, he still maintains the firm support of some sections of the population. After an extradition bill failed in parliament, the government simply enacted a decree authorizing extradition. Serbia's Constitutional Court then ruled this decree unconstitutional, but the government ignored the court, and at 7:05 pm last evening, Milosevic was taken by helicopter to an American army base in Bosnia. From there he traveled by British plane to the Netherlands. In addition to changing public opinion within Serbia, which has moved decisively against Milosevic especially since the recent discovery of several mass graves within Serbia, the handover was also the result of strong pressure of potential foreign aid donors, foremost among them the United States. Meeting today at a conference in Brussels, donors such as the European Union, World Bank, and the US have responded generously to Yugoslavia's request for $1.25 billion in aid as a reward for their cooperation with the Tribunal.
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