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Solana Hails Captures of Alleged War Criminal

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, Dec. 19, 1997 – War criminals beware, said NATO Secretary General Javier Solana following the capture of two indicted Bosnian Croat war criminals.

"This stands as a warning to all those indicted for war crimes who are still at large that they, too, will be held accountable," Solana said. "They should take steps immediately to surrender themselves volunarily to the International War Crmes Tribunal."

Vlatko Kupreskie and Anto Furundzija, indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal for Yugoslavia, were detained by Dutch members of the NATO stabilization forces Dec. 18. Kupreskie opened fire on the allied troops and was wounded in the exchange. No NATO forces were wounded.

The United States provided transportation and logistics support and a C-130 to transport the pair to the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

Solana praised SFOR troops and commanders "for their professionalism and dedication in carrying out this action, which will contribute to the continued consolidation of the peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina."

The stabilization force's mandate authorizes it to detain indicted war criminals encountered during the course of its duties, Solana said.

"We will not tolerate any behavior by any party contrary to the peace agreement," he said. At the same time, Solana said, NATO continues to insist the parties to the peace agreement are responsible for turning over indicted war criminals.

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