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Sainovic and Gruban Voluntarily Surrender to The Hague

7 May 2002 BELGRADE, 7 May (BETA)--The Hague indictees Nikola Sainovic and Momcilo Gruban surrendered voluntarily on 2 May to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) before which they are indicted for war crimes.

Sainovic gave his only statement late on 1 May to Belgrade Radio S, in which he emphasized that "having considered the situation in which our people and our state find themselves," he had concluded that "the only rational solution was to respond to the Yugoslav government's appeal and to continue the fight for the truth in The Hague." He added that he considered this to be his duty and obligation, primarily to those who gave their lives for the defense of the country.

Sainovic, a member of the Yugoslav Parliament who belongs to the Socialist Party of Serbia and a former Yugoslav deputy prime minister, is charged with war crimes committed in Kosovo, while Gruban is indicted for abusing and killing Croatian and Muslim prisoners in the Omarska detention camp during the Bosnian war.

Sainovic will plead not guilty to each of the five counts against him for crimes against humanity in Kosovo.

Sainovic and Gruban surrendered after the authorities in Belgrade published a list of 23 persons who are wanted by the tribunal and called on them to surrender.

The first to surrender voluntarily was former Yugoslav Army Chief of Staff Dragoljub Ojdanic. Former Serbian leaders in Croatia Milan Martic, Mile Mrksic, and Vladimir Kovacevic have also announced they will surrender voluntarily to The Hague.

Sainovic and Ojdanic, together with [former Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic and Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, are all part of the same indictment. A fifth ex-official, former Serbian Interior Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic, was also charged, but he committed suicide on 11 April.
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