Bosnian Serb soldier convicted by UN tribunal to serve jail term in

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which sits in The Hague in the Netherlands, announced today that Dragan Zelenović has been transferred to detention in Belgium.Mr. Zelenović pleaded guilty last year before the ICTY to seven counts of rape – including gang rape – and torture for his actions in the town of Foca in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.After Bosnian Serb forces took over Foca municipality in April 1992, they took local women and girls to detention facilities, where they were interrogated and subject to brutal beatings, sexual assaults and humiliating and degrading conditions. Other women were detained in houses and apartments used as brothels by the mainly paramilitary soldiers.In his statement of guilt to the Tribunal, Mr. Zelenović said: “I feel sorry for all the victims who were victimized by anything that I did, and that is why I express from this forum my deepest remorse and regret.”In October last year the ICTY’s appeals chamber rejected Mr. Zelenović’s appeal against the length of his prison sentence.Belgium is one of 14 European countries that have signed an agreement with the ICTY to enforce sentences imposed by the Tribunal on convicted individuals, and nearly 40 people either have served or are currently serving their sentence in one of those countries. 27 February 2008A former Bosnian Serb soldier and military policeman convicted by a United Nations war crimes tribunal of torturing and raping Muslim women and girls during the Balkan wars of the 1990s will serve the remainder of his 15-year jail term in Belgium. read more

Cypriot leaders move on with UNbacked reunification negotiations

5 March 2009Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders held talks today in the latest bout of United Nations-backed negotiations aimed at reunifying the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met today for an hour-and-a-half tête-à-tête before continuing discussions on the country’s delicate property issue.“They have now referred the matter to the representatives to consider, in tandem with other issues including governance and confidence-building measures,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Tayé-Brook Zerihoun told the press following the meeting in Nicosia. Asked if progress was made on the property issue, Mr. Zerihoun said, “I would not make that judgement, because it would be a subjective judgement.”The leaders have agreed to meet next week to discuss matters concerning the European Union on 11 March. Their representatives will then meet on 12 March for talks on a range of other issues, he added.In May 2008, the two leaders committed themselves to working towards “a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolutions.” The partnership will comprise a Federal Government with a single international personality, along with a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, which will be of equal status.The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has been in place on the island since 1964 after the outbreak of intercommunal violence. It is tasked with preventing a recurrence of fighting, contributing to a return to normal conditions and the maintenance of law and order. read more