Bosnian Serb president held by own police

The mafia-style politics of the Bosnian Serb state threatened to overwhelm the Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic last night, after she was arrested by her own police force on returning from a visit to Britain.

Mrs Plavsic, who was was invited for talks in London by the Foreign Office on the strength of her new-found reputation as a moderate, cut short her British visit amid reports of opposition to her planned drive against corruption.

At Belgrade airport on Sunday night, in spite of being titular head of an entirely independent state, she was grabbed by the police of President Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia and held for an hour- and-a-half. She was then transported to Bijeljina, in north-east Bosnia, where she was detained overnight by her own police in the village of Dvorovi.

Yesterday the "President" was set free and returned to the Bosnian Serb city of Banja Luka with an escort provided by S-For, the international peace-keeping force in Bosnia. They were reported to have secured the presidency building in Banja Luka against possible attack.

Mrs Plavsic was one of a trio of Serb ultra-nationalists led by Radovan Karadzic who plunged Bosnia into a bloodbath from 1992-5 by trying to carve an ethnically pure Serb state out of the mixed Muslim-Christian former Yugoslav republic.

Unlike Mr Karadzic she was not indicted for suspected war crimes by the UN tribunal in the Hague, but until recently was seen as the most hardline of the lot. President Milosevic's journalist wife Mirjana famously accused her of being a Nazi.

Her troubles proceed not from being "soft" on Muslims, but from her opposition to corruption which, as a rabid but sincere nationalist, she devoutly opposes. Mr Karadzic and his close ally, Momcilo Krajisnik, have had no scruples about draining the last drops out of the bankrupt Bosnian Serb state to line their pockets. Mr Karadzic has made his cash through his monopoly on smuggled cigarrettes. Mr Krajisnik and his brother have lined their pockets by sharing out monopolies on spirits and petrol. They are reported in the Belgrade media to have stashed their fortunes away in private banks in Russia.

Mrs Plavsic, who assumed the Bosnian Serb leadership from Mr Karadzic after he was indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal decided to crack down on the private mafias after a meeting with Madeleine Albright during the US Secretary of State's recent tour of former Yugoslavia. She also told Ms Albright she had swung behind the "moderate" camp on the question of a single currency for Bosnia - a big irritant to the mafia men, who have no desire to see the Bosnian Serbs' worthless currency replaced by something more stable.

Just prior to her return from London, she announced the sacking of the Bosnian Serb police chief, Dragan Kijac.

Her detention in a police cell in Bijeljina will raise a bitter smile from Bijeljina's surviving Muslims. Mrs Plavsic first achieved real fame by publicly kissing the Serb paramilitary leader Zeljko Raznjatovic, "Arkan" after his forces had stormed the town in April 1992 and murdered many local leaders of the Muslim community.

t The Hague (AP) - UN war crimes prosecutors will give secret indictments to "authorities ready, willing and able to execute them," Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour said.

Ms Arbour was reacting to Friday's arrest by the UN of Slavko Dokmanovic, a Serb suspect in the massacre of 260 Croats in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar in 1991. His arrest marked the first time UN authorities have held an indicted suspect in the former Yugoslavia.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?