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NATO Troops Arrest Two Serb War Crimes Suspects

April 09, 1998| From Associated Press

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina — The NATO-led peace force Wednesday arrested two Bosnian Serbs suspected of prison camp atrocities and said the men will be sent to the U.N. war crimes tribunal.

The two did not resist, and no one was hurt in the military operation in the Serb-held town of Prijedor in northwest Bosnia, NATO spokesman Maj. Louis Garneau said.

There were no Serbian demonstrations or other indications of tension in the region after the arrests, Garneau said.

The suspects were identified as Miroslav Kvocka and Mladen Radic, both indicted in February 1995 by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslav federation, set up in The Hague.

Both men are charged with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity while holding command positions at the Omarska camp outside Prijedor, where scores of Muslim and Croatian prisoners were tortured and killed in 1992.

Televised images of skeletal inmates at Omarska and two other Serb-run camps helped spur the creation of the war crimes tribunal in 1993.

"This action . . . is yet another warning to all those indicted for war crimes who are still at large that they too will be brought to justice," NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana said in Brussels.

He called on other war crimes suspects to surrender immediately to the tribunal.

Tribunal spokesman Christian Chartier said he expected the suspects to be transferred to The Hague late Wednesday or early today.

No date had been set for their arraignment.

The tribunal has indicted at least 75 suspects, the majority of them Serbs, and has 23 in custody. Some of the tribunal's indictments have not been made public.

The arrests Wednesday increased pressure on the former Serbian leader and No 1. war crimes suspect, Radovan Karadzic, who is still at large.

Karadzic, as the leader of breakaway Serbian forces in Bosnia, was blamed for some of the worst atrocities of the war.

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