U.S. Leaders Urge Milosevic Trial

Sponsors of a nonbinding Senate resolution advocating Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's indictment and trial by an international tribunal for "war crimes" are pressing for quick House consent.

"I believe this is the least we can do and should do," said Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y. The Senate passed the resolution by unanimous voice vote on Friday. It recommends that the international war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague speedily bring Milosevic to trial.

It accuses Milosevic of "the deaths of hundreds of thousands, the torture and rape of tens of thousands and the forced displacement of nearly 300,000" in the Bosnian conflict. More recently, the resolution asserts, Milosovic has been responsible for the bloody crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, an area in southern Serbia.

Some 90 percent of its population is ethnic Albanian. Hundreds of civilians have been killed there by Milosevic's Serbian forces.

Kosovo is the dominant of two republics that make up the remainder of Yugoslavia. Ethnic Albanians are demanding independence from Serbia.

Both House and Senate aides said the measure would likely be taken up in the House by month's end. Senate sponsors said they saw no reason why the House would not follow the example of the Senate.

The United States and the Europeans oppose plans for a "Greater Albania," and the growth of the KLA has caused those governments to reconsider their hard-line stand against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who has agreed to negotiate autonomy but not independence for Kosovo.

"The man can and should be charged as the war criminal he is," D'Amato said.

Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a cosponsor of the resolution, said there was no chance for peace in the Balkans until Serbia has a democratic government - and for this to happen, Milosevic must be removed from power.

"I have come to understand the stark truth that the only thing that matters to Milosevic is his own political survival. The only thing," Biden said.

This weekend, Serb forces clashed with rebels for control of a central Kosovo town in some of the bloodiest fighting yet in the secessionist province's 5-month-old war.

At least 100 people may have been killed Saturday and early Sunday during house-to-house fighting in the town of Orahovac and near the province's border with Albania, according to figures released by both sides.

Ethnic Albanian guerrillas launched an offensive on the town late Friday in an apparent attempt to add territory to the 30 percent of the province they already hold. Rebels have killed at least 30 Serb policemen and captured nearly all of Orahovac during the fighting, the KLA commander said on condition of anonymity.

he ethnic Albanian daily Bujku claimed Monday that rebel forces controlled 80 percent of Orahovac late Sunday, quoting its reporter on the scene. There were no new reports on Orahovac early today.

Regardless of which side prevails, the battle for control of the town marks an important turning point in the Kosovo fighting.
The KLA had never mounted such a large-scale attack so deep into the province, nor had it displayed such sophisticated weaponry, discipline and military skills.