The International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague is currently considering expanding its jurisdiction to include Kosovo. The latest reports from Serbia say thousands of terrified refugees were trapped in Kosovo’s villages, hills, and forests this weekend as new fighting flared between ethnic Albanian separatists and Serbian security forces. Kosovo Albanians said the Serbs had launched a large-scale offensive in central Kosovo, including widespread shelling, and were continuing operations in the west near the border with northern Albania. An estimated 60,000 people have been displaced by a week-long offensive, which Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic said on Thursday had ended.
Meanwhile, at The Hague, a Bosnian Serb who was charged with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity for alleged atrocities committed in Bosnia died in his cell Saturday of a heart attack, ending a U.N. tribunal’s first genocide trial.
Milan Kovacevic, a former Mayor of Prijedor, is accused of overseeing a vicious campaign of arrests, rapes, torture and slayings of non-Serbs. Prosecutors said Kovacevic was among a group of municipal officials who engineered a violent campaign to expel Bosnian Muslims and Croats from Prijedor between April and December 1992. They accused Kovacevic of guiding the campaign of atrocities and of establishing three of the Bosnian war’s most infamous prison camps including the one at Omarska.
- Lauren Comiteau, a journalist who has been covering The Hague for the past year.