The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 1, 2001

Statement by the President

I welcome today's arrest of Slobodan Milosevic, the former President of Yugoslavia. His arrest represents an important step in bringing to a close the tragic era of his brutal dictatorship.

Milosevic was responsible for great suffering throughout the Balkan region. He deserves to be tried for his crimes against the Serbian people. He also deserves to be tried for violations of international law. We cannot and must not forget the chilling images of terrified women and children herded onto trains, emaciated prisoners interned behind barbed wire, and mass graves unearthed by UN investigators.

Milosevic's arrest should be a first step toward trying him for the crimes against humanity with which he is charged. I am confident that Yugoslavia will continue down the path of cooperation with the UN War Crimes Tribunal. I am encouraged by the actions that Belgrade has already taken to work with the Tribunal, including its assistance over the last several weeks in transferring two indictees to the Hague. I call on President Kostunica to continue this cooperation and to see that Milosevic is likewise brought to justice.

The United States appreciates the hard job that Yugoslavia faces in building its new democracy. I assure the Yugoslav government and people that they can count on the friendship of the United States as they continue down the path of democratic and economic reform. We look forward to the day that Yugoslavia is fully part of a Europe that is whole and free and at peace.

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