The Nando Times - Nato arrests Bosnian Serb commander who directed siege of Sarajevo

By IRENA GAJIC

BANJA LUKA (December 21, 1999) - The Bosnian Serb general who kept Sarajevo under siege for nearly three years, transforming the former Olympic host into a symbol of suffering and ethnic intolerance, was arrested Monday by NATO troops.

The soldiers arrested Stanislav Galic under a sealed indictment issued by the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, tribunal spokesman Paul Risley said.

At least 20 peacekeepers detained Galic and placed a hood over his head before taking him away, the Yugoslav news agency Tanjug reported, citing eyewitnesses. Other witnesses told The Associated Press that Galic was seized after cars blocked his vehicle.

The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity.

The arrest leaves Radovan Karadzic, the wartime leader of Bosnia's Serbs, and Ratko Mladic, his senior general, as the most important figures from the Bosnian Serb military command structure who remain at large.

Risley said Galic would stand trial for his role as commander of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps of the Bosnian Serb army during the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo.

"For 44 months, the Sarajevo Romanija Corps implemented a military strategy which used shelling and sniping to kill, maim, wound and terrorize the civilian inhabitants of Sarajevo," read Galic's indictment released by the tribunal.

"People were even injured and killed inside their own homes, being hit by bullets that came through the windows," it said. "The attacks on Sarajevo civilians were often unrelated to military actions and were designed to keep the inhabitants in a constant state of terror."

Gen. Radislav Krstic, accused of genocide in the fall of Srebrenica in 1995, and Gen. Momir Talic, alleged architect of the bloody purge of Croats and Muslims from northern Bosnia in 1992, were arrested on tribunal charges earlier this year.

"This latest arrest ... is in line with my policy of targeting senior figures in the chain of command for crimes committed during periods of armed conflict," said Carla Del Ponte, the tribunal's chief prosecutor.

In Brussels, Belgium, NATO said the arrest was a "warning to all those indicted for war crimes and still at large."

At U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke called for the arrest of other suspected war criminals. The capture "is evidence enough that we have not finished with the problems of Bosnia," he said. "We're not turning away from Bosnia."

Before the start of the Bosnian war, Galic served as a colonel with the Yugoslav army. He was promoted to general after taking command of the Sarajevo-Romanija corps.

Recently, he was an adviser to Nikola Poplasen, the hard-line Bosnian Serb president removed from office in March by international officials administering Bosnia. Poplasen was fired for opposing the Dayton peace accords, which ended the war.

Poplasen said the arrest was an attempt to "humiliate the Serb population."

The Bosnian Serb defense ministry complained the tribunal unfairly targeted their part of the country and "nobody is arresting generals from the Muslim-Croat federation."

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