Bosnian Serbs Finally Relent

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BELGRADE: In what may be a major breakthrough in the Bosnian peace process, Serb leaders meeting with Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic were expected to agree to release prisoners of war and cooperate with war crimes investigators. "Our leadership has agreed to a maximum cooperation with every institution wishing to investigate the allegations about the graves," said Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajisnik just prior to the meeting. 45 of the 52 people indicted for war crimes by the international tribunal in The Hague are Serbs, including once powerful Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. But it was still unclear whether Mladic, commander of the Bosnian Serb military, and Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb president, attended the meeting or would have any voice in the matter. Yesterday, reports TIME's Alexandra Niksic, Karadzic said he would allow international investigators into Serb territory "only if the international community would provide some real evidence for the massacres or atrocities and that those accused be judged in Bosnian Serb territory." But, according to Niksic, "it is clear that Milosevic is calling the shots. He has allowed the International tribunal to open an office in Belgrade. And it was Milosevic's police which provided security for John Shattuck, the State Department's Assistant Secretary for Human Rights, when he toured Srebrenica. The current theory in Belgrade is that Milosevic will replace Mladic or Karadzic only when he has to, after the elections in June. But until then, it is also clear that he is in charge."