Ex-Serb leader to work with U.N. court

She is expected to aid tribunal for leniency

January 10, 2001|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - Former Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic turned herself in yesterday to a United Nations war crimes tribunal, and she is expected to cooperate with prosecutors in return for lenient treatment on secret war crimes charges, U.S. officials said.

Plavsic is the highest-ranking member of the wartime Bosnian Serb leadership to surrender to the tribunal here. She was accused of war crimes in a sealed indictment that was to be unveiled today, U.S. officials said.

Plavsic's cooperation could bolster the tribunal's genocide and atrocity cases against Radovan Karadzic, the top Bosnian Serb political chief, and his military commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic. The pair was indicted five years ago, but remain on the loose.

Plavsic could also provide details of the arms, funds and support deposed Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic provided for the Bosnian Serbs' 1992-95 campaign of mass murder, ethnic cleansing and rape against Muslims and Croats in Bosnia.

Another U.S. official said Washington hoped Plavsic's voluntary surrender would encourage Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica to cooperate in the tribunal's prosecution of Milosevic.

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