Somali pirates 'seize Filipinos'

Other News Materials 23 July 2008 17:19 (UTC +04:00)

A ship with 20 Philippine sailors has reportedly been hijacked off the coast of Somalia, reported BBC.

A spokesman for the Philippine foreign ministry told reporters that the Japanese-owned Stella Maris was seized by pirates on Sunday.

He said officials had been in contact with the sailors, who were in a good state of health.

But he added that it was against the Philippine government's policy to pay a ransom to the kidnappers.

The Stella Maris, which was carrying a cargo of lead and zinc, was boarded by 38 armed men in the Gulf of Aden, according to the Spanish news agency EFE.

The seas off Somalia have some of the highest rates of piracy in the world.

The country has not had a functioning national government since 1991 and has been wracked by civil strife. "Serbia also is fully committed to joining the EU, and I think this is an example of a modern, European Serbia," he added.

The EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said the arrest had moved Serbia closer to EU candidate status and should pave the way for closer trade ties.

Mr Karadzic was questioned by a Serbian judge on Tuesday, who ruled that he should be extradited.

Under Serbia's law on co-operation with The Hague Tribunal, three hurdles must be crossed before Mr Karadzic is sent to The Hague.

A magistrate must conclude that all conditions for extradition have been met. Mr Karadzic must be granted a chance to appeal and a special committee of the war crimes court must rule on that appeal. The whole process could take anything from three to nine days.

Mr Karadzic has been indicted by the UN tribunal for war crimes and genocide relating to the war in Bosnia in the mid-1990s.

The UN says Mr Karadzic's forces killed up to 8,000 Bosniak men and boys from Srebrenica in July 1995 as part of a campaign to "terrorise and demoralise the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population".

He has also been charged over the shelling of Sarajevo, and the use of 284 UN peacekeepers as human shields in May and June 1995.

Mr Karadzic has denied the charges against him and refused to recognise the legitimacy of the UN tribunal.

He had last been seen in public in eastern Bosnia in 1996, and was previously thought to have hidden in Serb-controlled parts of Bosnia, as well as in Montenegro and Serbia.

After the accord that ended the Bosnian war was signed in late 1995 in Dayton, in the US state of Ohio, the former nationalist president went into hiding.

International pressure to catch Mr Karadzic mounted in spring 2005 when several of his former generals surrendered, and a video of Bosnian Serb soldiers shooting captives from Srebrenica shocked television viewers in former Yugoslavia.

He was a close ally of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who was himself extradited to The Hague Tribunal in 2001, but died in 2006, shortly before a verdict was due to be delivered in his case.