Serb general surrenders to The Hague

A top Serbian war crimes suspect has surrendered to the UN tribunal at The Hague.

    Nebojsa Pavkovic is accused of crimes against humanity

    The surrender of former Yugoslav Army chief-of staff Nebojsa Pavkovic, charged with war crimes in Kosovo, was welcomed by the European Union on Monday as a right step that could facilitate the country's eventual EU membership.

    "We welcome this development and encourage Serbia ... to pursue this path further," Luxemburg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, told a news conference.

    Pavkovic was indicted in 2003 for planning and ordering the killing and expulsion of thousands of Kosovo Albanian civilians in 1999 while battling ethnic Albanian separatist fighters. He is the 12th Serb indicted to surrender to The Hague this year.

    "Kosovo Albanians were frequently intimidated, assaulted or killed in public view to enforce the departure of their families and neighbours," his indictment reads.

    Charges

    Pavkovic faces four counts of crimes against humanity and one count of violations of the laws or customs of war, including deportation, murder and persecution. 

    In

     Serbia, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said his surrender meant the former Yugoslav republic had "stepped closer to the European family of the states".

    Pavkovic at first said he would rather kill himself than go to The Hague. He later changed his mind, saying he did not want to be "the only obstacle to the country's aspirations towards a better future".

    Belgrade praised his decision to surrender as a "highly moral, responsible and patriotic act" last week. Nine Serbs or Bosnian Serbs indicted by the court are still at large.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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