Top Bosnian Serb General to Surrender

A top Bosnian Serb general who was a close aide to wartime commander Gen. Ratko Mladic (search) has agreed to surrender voluntarily to the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the government in Belgrade said Monday.

The government said retired Gen. Milan Gvero (search) will give himself up to the tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands, after talks with Serbian Justice Minister Zoran Stojkovic.

"The Serbian government highly values the decision by Gen. Gvero to go voluntarily ... and considers this to be a moral act in the interest of the state," the statement said.

The general has been accused of war crimes by the U.N. (search) court, the government said, but provided no details.

Belgrade's B-92 radio, citing anonymous sources, said Gvero is charged with the forceful expulsion and killing of Muslims on the eve of the 1995 Bosnian Serb onslaught on Srebrenica, where more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys were executed.

Gvero was part of the army staff at Mladic's wartime headquarters during the 1992-95 Bosnian war and was in charge of army morale and media information. After the end of the war in his native Bosnia, Gvero lived in a town near Belgrade.

Gvero was at the government building Monday talking to officials after the news of his surrender. He was expected to travel to The Hague on Thursday.

As Gvero's indictment has not been listed among U.N. tribunal's public documents because it is sealed. In such cases, the indictments are unsealed when a suspect surrenders.

U.N. prosecution spokeswoman Florence Hartmann confirmed the existence of an indictment against Gvero. "The office of the prosecutor can confirm that he has been informed by the Serbian government of the indictment and that Gvero will be transferred to The Hague by the end of the week."

Serbia faces immense Western pressure to hand over about a dozen suspects wanted by the Hague court, including Mladic.

The United States has suspended financial and political aid to the Serbian government to press for the extradition, while EU officials warned that Serbia would not be able to establish closer ties with the bloc unless the suspects face justice.

The government of conservative Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has been reluctant to arrest and extradite suspects, insisting rather on their voluntary surrender. Earlier this month, the government persuaded another Serbian army commander suspected of war crimes in Kosovo in 1999, Gen. Vladimir Lazarevic, to give himself up to The Hague.