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Bosnian's Home Is Raided

July 03, 2002|From Reuters

PALE, Bosnia-Herzegovina — NATO troops ransacked the empty home of war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic on Tuesday in a raid they said was intended to crack down on illegal smuggling and not to seize the fugitive former Bosnian Serb leader.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization denied that the action was aimed at showing that its peacekeeping mission is unaffected by a U.S. refusal to renew a United Nations mandate for Bosnia-Herzegovina that expires Thursday.

Troops forced open the gate of the 15-room house, blew doors open, ripped up parquet flooring, tore the backs off icons and took the hard drive from a computer.

After the predawn raid by helicopter-borne French troops of the NATO-led Stabilization Force, or SFOR, a statement from the force said the house was "suspected of being associated with an illegal smuggling network."

U.S. Maj. Scott Lundy, an SFOR spokesman, told reporters in Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital, that the raid had uncovered forged passports and several firearms.

"We did not expect to find Mr. Karadzic there today," he told BBC television.

Karadzic tops the wanted list of the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague. He and former army commander Ratko Mladic are charged with genocide for the siege of Sarajevo and the July 1995 massacre in Srebrenica during Bosnia's civil war.

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