News 31 May 07

UPDATE: Bosnian Serb Police Arrest War Crimes Fugitive

Sarajevo _ Republika Srpska police arrested Zdravko Tolimir, a war crimes fugitive wanted by the Hague Tribunal, international officials in Bosnia and Bosnian Serb sources told BIRN Justice Report.

Tolimir was arrested in eastern Republika Srpska near the border with neighboring Serbia at around 3pm local time, sources said. This is the first time since the end of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia that Bosnian Serb police arrested a Hague war crimes indictee.

Tolimir was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for genocide and crimes against humanity committed in and around Srebrenica in July 1995 when he was the Assistant Commander for Intelligence of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS).

Tolimir was one of seven assistant commanders who reported directly to General Ratko Mladic, the leader of Bosnian Serb army who has also been on the run for over a decade.

According to Justice Report’s sources Tolimir was transferred to Banja Luka in the early evening hours on Thursday where ICTY officials were reportedly already present. His transfer to the UN detention unit in The Hague is expected within 24 hours.

ICTY indicted Tolimir in 2005. Following the arrest of Tolimir, five ICTY indictees remain on the run including Radovan Karadzic war time leader of Bosnian Serbs.

Bosnian Serb forces overran the protected UN zone of Srebrenica in July 1995 and in ensuing days executed about 8,000 Bosnian men and boys.

Munira Subasic, leader of Mothers of Srebrenica association, told Justice Report she was elated. “We are very happy,” she told Justice Report.

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