Jailbird! Clinton Gets 20 Years In Prison

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He may be off the hook on Whitewater, but Bill Clinton is in deep, deep trouble in Belgrade. In fact, if he ever sets foot in Yugoslavia, he'll go straight to the Big House — and whatever assets he may be carrying will be impounded to help pay the "costs" of his war crimes trial in the Belgrade District Court. The trial of Clinton, British prime minister Tony Blair and 12 other NATO leaders for alleged war crimes committed against civilians during last year's Kosovo campaign wrapped up Thursday, with guilty verdicts and 20-year sentences all around. So dense was the "book" thrown at President Clinton and his cohorts that it took Slobodan Milosevic's prosecutors a full three hours to read the indictment into the court record.

But never let it be said that Milosevic is not a fair man. Clinton, Blair and all of their co-accused each had their own court-appointed lawyer, who took their work very seriously. "I tried to contact my client," Tony Blair's attorney earnestly told TIME, explaining that he'd written the British prime minister a letter but had received no response. Still, he managed a dash of optimism earlier in the week about actually meeting his client and the rest of the accused, suggesting "Maybe they'll show up."

The "trial," of course, was primarily a propaganda stunt designed to distract Serb voters ahead of Sunday's election, in which polls indicate they plan to deliver Milosevic a humiliating defeat at the ballot box. Still, nobody's under any illusions that the outcome of the actual vote will prevent Milosevic from declaring victory within hours of the polls' closing and, with the backing of his army, daring anyone to disagree. But the Clinton-Blair "trial" may have a more sinister intention than simply cocking a snook at the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague. Now that Clinton, Albright, Blair and others are convicted criminals in Serbia, association with any of them could be deemed consorting with a fugitive from justice — and that could create a further pretext for arresting dozens of Serbian opposition figures.