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Keraterm Camp Commander Arrested

Tribunal Update 181 Last Week in The Hague (June 19-23, 2000)

Kolundzija and Dosen have been in custody at The Hague since 1999. Four other individuals named in the Keraterm indictment remain at large - Dragan Fustar, brothers Nenad and Predrag Banovic and Dusan Knezevic. The indictment had originally included twelve people but in May 1998 the then Chief Prosecutor, Louise Arbour, requested charges be dropped against five suspects (see Tribunal Update No. 75).

Five indictees accused of crimes at the neighbouring Omarska camp during the same period are also on trial at The Hague. Two of their fellow indictees are also still at liberty - the camp commander Zeljko Meakic and guard shift commander Momcilo Gruban.

NATO Secretary-General, Lord George Robertson, welcomed the news of Sikirica's arrest, reiterating his warning to remaining fugitives from The Hague, "The net is closing - it is time you surrendered."

Sikirica's arrest is the eighth since Robertson took over at NATO, stating at the time his "personal commitment" to bringing all fugitives from international justice before the courts.

According to the indictment, Sikirica was commander at Keraterm, where more than 3,000 Muslims and Croats from the Prijedor area were imprisoned between May 24 and August 30, 1992. Many of the prisoners were killed. Sikirica has been indicted on every count within the Tribunal's jurisdiction - genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, and violations of the laws and customs of war.

Sikirica is the second commander of a camp set up and run by the so-called Bosnian Serb crisis staff to be arrested this year. Dragan Nikolic, former commander of the Susica camp, was detained two months ago.

Previously Zdravko Mucic and Zlatko Aleksovski were convicted of grave breaches of the Geneva Convention and violations of the laws and customs of war for their roles as commanders of the Celebici and Kaonik camps respectively. Celebici had been set up by the Bosnian authorities to hold Serb prisoners, Kaonik by the Croatian Defence Council to hold Muslim prisoners in central Bosnia.