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War Crimes Suspect Allegedly Sheltered

Head of the EU military force says evidence indicates that the Bosnian Serb army hid Radko Mladic in an underground bunker.

December 26, 2004|From Associated Press

VELIKI ZEP, Bosnia-Herzegovina — The Bosnian Serb army sheltered war crimes suspect Gen. Ratko Mladic in an underground bunker within the last six months, the head of the European Union peacekeeping force said.

Mladic, the Bosnian Serb wartime commander, and Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic are the U.N. war crimes tribunal's most-wanted fugitives.

The court, based in the Netherlands, wants to try them on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity stemming from Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

British Major Gen. David Leakey told reporters last week that he had evidence Mladic was at the underground bunker facility here, built by the former Yugoslav regime.

An investigation has been launched to find who sheltered Mladic and possibly other war crimes suspects, he said, adding that "somebody will be held responsible."

Bosnian Serbs have not arrested any war crimes suspects believed to be hiding in their territory and have frequently been accused of helping fugitives evade justice.

"When this facility has been used [as Mladic's hide-out] it must have been used with the knowledge of Bosnian Serb authorities," Leakey said.

But Capt. Milorad Zeric, the commander of the Bosnian Serb army troops who guard the facility, insisted that "at no point was Mladic in the bunker this year."

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