Kosovo president accepts verdict against former Serb leader

Other News Materials 26 February 2009 23:06 (UTC +04:00)

Kosovar President Fatmir Sejdiu said he has "full trust" in the verdict by a UN tribunal Thursday that acquitted former Serb president Milan Milutinovic of war crimes and crimes against humanity, dpa reported.

"Of course we at all time have full trust in the verdicts of the international court," Sejdiu said through a translator during a press conference in Washington with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"Enormous crimes, crimes against humanity, took place in Kosovo and Bosnia and Croatia" during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, he said. "These crimes were committed by people who were leading the politics at that time."

The UN court in The Hague ruled that Milutinovic did not have authority over the Serbian campaign against Kosovo's ethnic Albanians in 1999. Slobodan Milosevic, the former president who controlled power as prime minister at the time, was also on trial but died in his prison cell in 2006.

The International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia in the decision Thursday convicted Milosevic's deputy Nikola Sainovic, three Army generals and a police general for crimes against humanity and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from 15 to 22 years.

Sejdiu was in Washington with Prime Minister Hashim Thaci for meetings with Clinton only days after Kosovo celebrated its first anniversary of independence from Serbia. The United States quickly recognized Kosovo's declaration of independence.

US support for the tiny Balkan state dates back to the US-led NATO bombing campaign, under former president Bill Clinton, against Serbia to force Milosevic to abandon the military assault in Kosovo.

Hillary Rodham Clinton said Washington's backing for Serbia will not waver. Since Kosovo declared independence, 55 countries have recognized it as a state.

"By any fair measure the last 10 years has been miraculous and the last year of independence has been a real tribute to the leadership and the people of Kosovo," she said.