Balkans: Grinding Down the War Criminals

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February 25, 2006: The war criminal hunt in Bosnia and Serbia is heating up once again. Many of those wanted for atrocities during the 1990s fighting are now surrendering. The war crimes investigations and prosecutions have been relentless and these guys are tired of running,.

February 24, 2006: The director of the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime (based in Vienna, Austria) said that the Balkans have become the main route for shipping Afghani heroin into Europe. There are three "Balkan routes": Romania, Serbia, and via Macedonia.

The EU agreed to provide Cyprus' Turkish community with $165 million in aid. The aid package had been held up since 2004. The aid package was supposed to help entice the Turk Cypriots into voting to join the EU. The Turks did, but the Cypriot Greeks turned it down.

Meanwhile, back in Kosovo-- the political maneuvering continues following the death of Kosovar president Ibrahim Rugova. The head of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) acknowledged that Serbia will "lose Kosovo" because the majority of Kosovars (Albanian Kosovars) want that outcome.

February 23, 2006: The European Union told Serbia that it will suspend its political and economic initiatives with Serbia-Montenegro (part of the Stabilization and Association Agreement) unless Serbia arrest war criminal Ratko Mladic. Mladic has a press nickname that's very descriptive: "the Butcher of the Balkans." An EU spokesman said Serbia has until February 27 to make the arrest. Serbia denied that it knows where Mladic is hiding out.

February 21, 2006: The first round of negotiations between Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo concluded in Vienna. A spokesman said the two-day long meeting discussed governing municipalities in Kosovo. The issue of Kosovo independence was not addressed.

 

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