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Report: Serb war-crimes suspect to surrender


Lazarevic
 (The Spokesman-Review)
Lazarevic (The Spokesman-Review)
Jovana Gec Associated Press

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro – A Serb army general sought by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for alleged atrocities committed in Kosovo will surrender voluntarily, the government said.

Gen. Vladimir Lazarevic, a commander in Kosovo during the 1998-99 war, will surrender to the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, by the end of next week, a government statement said Friday.

The statement said Lazarevic agreed to surrender after a meeting with Serbia’s prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica. Lazarevic reportedly told Kostunica that he was innocent but that it was his duty to “help his country.”

Serbia faces immense Western pressure to hand over about a dozen suspects wanted by the Hague court, including former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic, Lazarevic and three other Serb commanders indicted over Kosovo.

The United States has suspended financial and political aid to the Serbian government to press for the extradition, while European Union officials warned that Serbia would not be able to establish closer ties unless the suspects face justice.

Lazarevic was accused of being responsible for atrocities allegedly committed by troops under his command during the fighting between Serbian government troops and ethnic Albanian separatists in the southern Kosovo province.

Belgrade officials hailed Lazarevic’s move and urged the other suspects to do the same.

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