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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lawmakers Urge Milosevic to Be Tried in Yugoslavia

Two leading Russian lawmakers said on Sunday that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, arrested in Belgrade on Sunday, should not be turned over to the war crimes tribunal in the Hague.

Gennady Seleznyov, speaker of the State Duma, said he did not believe that Yugoslav authorities would surrender Milosevic to the tribunal.

"It is that country's internal affair to try him," Seleznyov said in remarks reported by Interfax. "If he is guilty, he will answer in accordance with the law.

He said the charges of genocide brought against Milosevic are empty. "When genocide is being discussed, orders to kill people are implied. But neither Milosevic, nor any other person issued such orders," he said.

"The International Criminal Tribunal should try those who organized the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Then it will become clear who is the criminal and who is the hero," Seleznyov said.

Dmitry Rogozin, the chairman of the Duma's Committee for International Affairs, told Interfax that if the Yugoslav leadership surrenders Milosevic to The Hague Tribunal, it will make a serious political mistake.

"Milosevic's surrender will play into the hands of the United States, which would like to see him in The Hague and thus legalize the spring of 1999 and justify NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia," Rogozin said.

"If Milosevic is tried and his case is investigated in Yugoslavia, the situation looks one way. But if Milosevic is handed over to The Hague Tribunal, it will be a very serious political mistake for the Yugoslav leadership," Rogozin said.

Russia vehemently opposed the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, but resisted being drawn into the conflict.

Arriving in Moscow on Sunday for an official visit, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko criticized Milosevic's arrest. "It's a glaring, abnormal and undemocratic fact and this is seen with the naked eye," he said.