What Now For the World's Most Wanted?

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If the Kosovo crisis were a Hollywood film, Slobodan Milosevic would be on the run now, in a vain attempt to save his skin as his evil army disintegrated. Later in the movie he would be dragged before a chamber of bewigged jurists and, as the credits rolled, sentenced to his just deserts. But the real world is unlikely to offer up the denouement of a handcuffed Milosevic unraveling in a war-crimes courtroom Ė- at least not any time soon. Even if Milosevic has been given no secret guarantees regarding his status as an indicted war criminal, the odds are slim that NATO would risk trying to arrest him. "Western countries were reluctant to allow their troops in Bosnia to act as the Hague Tribunalís police force, and itís unlikely that anybody will send commandos to arrest Milosevic," says TIME Central Europe reporter Dejan Anastasijevic. Indicted war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are still at large in Bosnia six years after their indictment, despite the presence of NATO peacekeeping forces. Of course, the indictment means Milosevic wonít be able to travel outside Yugoslavia, but the reclusive dictator has always been an incorrigible homebody.

He's also unlikely to be handed over by the Serbs, despite the NATO members' vow to deny all economic assistance to Yugoslavia until Milosevic is ousted from power. "The vast majority of Serbs regard the Hague Tribunal as just another vehicle of NATO," says Anastasijevic. "Even the most liberal elements on the Serbian political scene think indicting Milosevic was a bad idea, because it gives him further incentive to use any means available to stay in power." In Hollywood, of course, thatís a perfect setup for a sequel.

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