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Arkan Indictment Unsealed

Murdered paramilitary leader Zeljko Raznjatovic faced Sanski Most killings charges.

Judges at The Hague last week lifted the seal on the indictment against former paramilitary leader Zeljko Raznatovic, alias Arkan, a year after his murder in the foyer of Belgrade's Intercontinental Hotel.

Arkan, one-time leader of the so-called 'Tigers' paramilitary unit, was originally indicted in September 1997. The arrest warrant was made public in March 1999 to warn Arkan's followers, who were thought to be operational in Kosovo at the time, that their leader was a wanted man.

The indictment cites the activities of Arkan's Tigers in eastern Slavonia in 1991 and eastern Bosnia in 1992, but charges Zeljko Raznatovic exclusively with crimes committed in Sanski Most in the latter half of September 1995.

The crimes include two mass executions, in the villages of Trnova and Sasina. The Tigers allegedly shot 76 people and buried them in mass graves. Investigators later exhumed the remains and the names of the 76 dead are given in three annexes to the indictment.

Other charges involve Arkan's alleged forced detention of large groups of people in a hotel boiler room. The detainees were allegedly beaten and treated cruelly. Two detainees died, the indictment claims.

Arkan was also accused of rape. The indictment claims members of the Tigers under his control and command committed the offence outside the hotel in Sanski Most where his headquarters were located.

The investigation into the Sanski Most crimes began in October 1995 after the Bosnian army forced the Tigers to flee the town.

On revealing the contents of the indictment against Arkan, the OTP said he would have been indicted for crimes in eastern Slavonia and Bosnia had he lived long enough to face trial at The Hague.