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Accused War Criminals: The Heat is On
U.N. Envoy Says Dayton Accord will Fail Without Justice
Muhamed Sacirbey (UNITED NATIONS—Reuters) Bosnia's U.N. ambassador said on Wednesday that peace accords worked out in Dayton, Ohio, would fail unless war criminals were apprehended and prosecuted.

Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey told a news conference that the Hague-based U.N. war crimes tribunal should give the Security Council a list of who has or has not complied with extradition demands. The council, he said, could reconsider re-imposing sanctions on Yugoslavia or the Bosnian Serbs.

"Dayton will fail if the war crimes tribunal is not supported and does not bring about at least a minimum level of justice," Sacirbey said. He said that even the United States, which is supportive of the tribunal, had not released all its information on war criminals or their links to the Yugoslav government in Belgrade. He said former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, who forged the Balkan accords in Dayton last November, had shown Ratko Mladic, the Serb military leader indicted as a war criminal, papers indicating that a notorious Serb militia known as Arkan had ties to Belgrade's interior ministry. "If Mladic is entitled to it, why not others?" he said.

The tribunal, set up by the Security Council in May 1993, has so far charged 57 Bosnian Serb, Croat and Muslim suspects, but holds just two in its custody. Sacirbey said that there appeared to be a "lack of focus and a will" by the international community to address the issue of war crimes, both in financial support to the Hague tribunal and in pursuit of war criminals. He said that IFOR, the NATO-led implementation force in Bosnia, had construed its mission so narrowly that it defined freedom of movement for civilians, the apprehension of war criminals or security in Sarajevo's suburbs as someone else's job, such as the small, unarmed U.N. civilian police.

Like Germany Needed Nuremberg
"Let us now not look for scapegoats," for tasks that IFOR was capable of doing, he said. "In order for IFOR not to fail in Bosnia they should be honest with the mandate given to them. That does not mean mission creep but avoiding using mission creep as an excuse." Sacirbey said Germany would not be what it is today if it were not for the Nuremberg war crimes trials after the Second World War. "Nuremberg freed the the Germans of collective responsibility," he said. "The Hague should free the Serbs of collective responsibility."

Sacirbey, in answer to questions, said there were no Iranian fighters left in Bosnia and if there were forces the government did not know about, the West should produce the evidence. He said everyone knew there was a risk of a defacto ethnic and religious divison of Bosnia. But he said that "if Islamic fundamentalism or radicalism ever comes to Bosnia it won't be because of Iran but because the architects of Dayton have not created sufficient mechanisms for a truly-multi-ethnic society."

Mladic and Karadjic
NATO: Force May Be Needed to
Capture Mladic and Karadjic

While Sacirbej spoke in New York, a U.S. general predicted in Washington that NATO peacekeepers will eventually arrest Serb Leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief Ratko Mladic to face war crimes charges. Lt. Gen. Patrick Hughes, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that force might be required and conditions have not been right so far to make the arrests.

"Some point in time will come when the conditions will be right to apprehend these people and I know that IFOR and certainly the U.S. element of IFOR will do that when that time comes." Hughes made the comment in response to criticism from Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, that peacekeepers did not arrest Karadzic recently even when they saw him. The general said several NATO peacekeeping officials did see Karadzic but they were in what he called the Serb stronghold city of Banja Luka and there were not enough of them to prudently arrest him.

"This would probably in my view require force, or at least the capability to use force if required, in order to apprehend these people," he said. "If conditions presented themselves, I believe that our intent would be to apprehend them and turn them over to the International War Crimes Tribunal," he said. Karadzic and Mladic are among 57 Bosnians charged by the tribunal with war crimes.

Additional resources
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

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