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SFOR Detains Genocide Suspect

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 1998 – NATO-led stabilization forces detained Bosnian Serb Gen. Radislav Krstic Dec. 2 in northeastern Bosnia.

Krstic, the highest-ranking indicted war criminal detained to date, was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia in October 1998. As commander of the Drina Corps of the Bosnian Serb army, the indictment alleges, Krstic committed genocide between July and November 1995 in the Muslim section of the town of Srebrenica.

According to press reports, Serbs killed more than 8,000 Muslims after rounding them up in the former U.N. safe area and marching them into the mountains.

Krstic is also charged with extermination, murder and persecutions and complicity to commit genocide. He is charged for his personal involvement and as a commander responsible for the actions of his forces.

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said Krstic's detention represents a continuing effort to see that war criminals are brought to justice.

"From the very beginning our policy has been that war criminals should turn themselves in or be apprehended by local police forces," Bacon said.

When SFOR troops have run across war criminals in the normal course of business, however, they've apprehended them if conditions were appropriate, he noted. "Part of making the conditions appropriate is to do this in ways that don't present unusual risks to SFOR troops," he said. "So, sometimes, steps are taken to make sure that the risk is minimized for allied troops."

Krstic's detention should be a warning to indicted criminals still at large, Bacon added. "Every time a war criminal is apprehended or turns himself in for trial, it should be clear that this is what can happen to any indicted war criminal in Bosnia."

NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana commended the SFOR troops and their commanders "for their courage, professionalism and dedication in carrying out this action, which will contribute to the continued consolidation of the peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina."

Solana said other indicted war criminals still at large should "realize that they too, will be brought to justice. Once again, I call on these indictees to surrender immediately to the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia.

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