Net closes on Bosnia war-crime fugitives

The new High Representative overseeing the uneasy peace in Bosnia yesterday threatened to punish anyone harbouring Bosnian war criminals who are supposed to be handed over to the International Tribunal in the Hague, signalling a hardening of the international community's attitude.

In the toughest warning since the Dayton accord was signed 18 months ago, ending the three-and-a-half year war which claimed an estimated 200,000 lives, Carlos Westendorp said he would start by trying to persuade the authorities in the two entities within Bosnia, and in Serbia and in Croatia, to hand over indicted war criminals as required by Dayton.

So far, of 75 indicted war criminals, the only people brought before the court have been a Bosnian Croat who gave himself up and a Bosnian Serb, Dusan Tadic, who was seized by German police. Another seven await trial.

The most wanted men - Bosnian Serb war leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic - are still at large in Bosnian Serb territory. The Nato-led Stabilisation Force - S-For - is under instructions to detain wanted men if it chances upon them, but it never does.

Of the former warring factions, only the Bosnian Muslims have shown any inclination to hand over wanted men.

Mr Westendorp, a former Spanish foreign minister, takes over from former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt on 20 June, and yesterday indicated he was going to take a much tougher line. "The second option is pressure," he said in Madrid yesterday. "Those who fulfil the commitments will have our support and those who do not, will have no support at all".

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright went further, demanding that Croatia and Serbia to stop "stonewalling" .

Mr Westendorp said the resolution of the war criminals issue was crucial to maintaining the peace in Bosnia. Dayton was supposed to create a model for a multi-ethnic country, but so far the boundaries between the former warring factions have solidified.

"We cannot deviate from Dayton. We must not", Mr Westendorp said. "Coexistence among the communities is not possible unless this issue of war criminals is solved".

Immediately after the accord, the peace implementation force took the view that peace was more urgent than justice, and that attempts to seize indicted war criminals would be resisted. But after 18 months, most of the wanted men remain free, and progress towards implementing Dayton has been far too slow.

The US is determined to move its troops out before the deadline of July 1998. But Britain's new Foreign Secretary,Robin Cook, is among many Europeans who favour keeping forces there for a longer period.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants