Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Lord Robertson's Arrest Pledge

NATO Secretary General advises war crimes suspects to turn themselves in rather than face "rough justice" in the Balkans

Chief Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, used NATO Secretary General George Robertson's visit to the Hague Tribunal last week to call on NATO to arrest all those accused of war crimes.

"Many thanks to NATO for the cooperation - in Kosovo, and in Bosnia, for the exhumations and all our investigation activities. Thanks also for the arrests, but this is not enough. I am asking (NATO) to arrest all fugitives," Del Ponte said at a joint press conference with Robertson.

Robertson said NATO was closing in on the suspects: "The fugitives will be arrested as soon as possible. Mr Krajisnik was the sixth indictee arrested during my time as a Secretary General. I strongly advise all indictees to surrender and to come to The Hague rather than to face the rough justice of the Balkans."

But the Secretary General's pledge did not impress journalists, who wanted to know why Radovan Karadzic had escaped arrest. Robertson said the seizure of suspects was risky as some were violent and protected, but he insisted that the likes of Karadzic, Mladic and Milosevic would eventually be arrested. " They are running and hiding but they can't do that forever," he said.