Calling it a major step forward in the fight against impunity, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson today welcomed the decree issued by the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia opening the way for the transfer of former President Slobodan Milosevic to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
"The decree is a recognition that the crimes the former President and others are accused of must come to trial," Mrs. Robinson said in a statement. "I hope the decree can be implemented promptly and that all persons indicted by the Tribunal and present in Yugoslav territory will be transferred to The Hague for trial."
The High Commissioner said human rights defenders around the world could take heart in the growing recognition that high office no longer guarantees protection for human rights violators.
"Two years ago, when the indictment was handed down, few dared to believe the former President would ever face trial," she said, adding that Yugoslavia's decision was a vindication of the daily struggle so many people carried on for human rights. "Today, we are one step closer to the day when we can tell any tyrant responsible for human rights abuses: You will be called to account. There is no place to hide."