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THE WORLD

Yugoslavia Says No to U.S. Deal on World Court

August 14, 2002|From Reuters

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia — President Vojislav Kostunica says he opposes a U.S. request for a bilateral deal to prevent U.S. citizens from being turned over to the new International Criminal Court.

The U.S., which has about 5,000 peacekeepers in the U.N.-administered Yugoslav province of Kosovo, opposes the new court and has approached countries to negotiate bilateral agreements to avoid the prosecution of American personnel in their jurisdictions by the court.

Yugoslavia's eastern neighbor Romania this month became the first to sign a deal with the U.S.

Kostunica, whose predecessor, Slobodan Milosevic, is on trial for war crimes at the U.N. tribunal in The Hague, said any agreement to exempt people from prosecution by the new court would undermine international law.

His remarks reflect a widespread feeling in Yugoslavia that Washington is applying a double standard, pressuring Belgrade to cooperate with the Hague tribunal while it seeks to win exemptions for its own citizens from the ICC.

Switzerland also said it would negotiate no deal. Canada and Norway have also shunned the idea.

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