THREE Bosnian Muslim war crimes suspects arrive at The Hague detention unit

Saturday, August 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ Three Bosnian Muslims suspected of atrocities against Serbs and Croats in 1993 arrived in the Netherlands on Saturday and were taken to a U.N. detention unit.

Two Muslim generals and a colonel were arrested by Bosnian police Thursday after the U.N. war crimes court in The Hague revealed sealed indictments against the men on July 13.

Mehmed Alagic, 54, and Enver Hadzihasanovic, 51 _ both retired generals _ are the highest-ranking Muslims so far to be arrested on war crimes charges for their role in Bosnia's 1992-95 war. Col. Amir Kubura, 37, was also arrested.

They will appear before a U.N. judge this week to plead innocent or guilty to charges in the court's 19-count indictment.

The men are charged with responsibility for the execution of civilians and war prisoners, for using hostages as human shields under fire and for the pillaging and destruction of towns and villages.

Most of the serious crimes were committed by foreign Muslim mercenaries who joined the Bosnians in what they called a jihad, or holy war, and who branded themselves mujahedeen, the tribunal said.

But the three officers are accused of failing to prevent men under their command from committing atrocities that they knew, or should have known, were about to happen.

Thursday's arrests marked the first time Muslim-Croat federation officials have detained war crimes suspects on their territory. No details of the operation were provided.

The arrests came a day after the court convicted a Bosnian Serb of genocide for the murder of thousands of Muslims from Srebrenica in 1995. In the first genocide conviction at the Yugoslav tribunal, Serb Gen. Radislav Krstic was found guilty for atrocities committed by subordinates.

The tribunal, established by the United Nations in 1993 to try those responsible for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, now has 43 suspects in its custody, including former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.