Alex KrugerCroatia arrests war crimes suspects
Tuesday, 12 September, 2000
The authorities in Croatia have arrested up to a dozen people, including two senior army officers, accused of war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina.
The move is seen as a major crackdown on war crimes suspects in Croatia.
All the arrested are ethnic Croats.
The two officers named as General Ivan Andabak and Major-General Ignac Kostroman were arrested following request by the United Nations war crimes tribunal in the Hague.
Both men are suspected of crimes against Bosnian Muslims during the 1993-94 conflict.
Our Central Europe reporter Nick Thorpe says the arrests can be expected to prompt an angry reaction among some sections of the Croatian armed forces and public.
Many veterans of the "Patriotic War" believe that their reputation is being soiled by the new government, which has promised full co-operation with the Hague.
The Croatian Prime Minister, Ivica Racan said he did not envisage unrest in the country following the arrest.
"I don't believe anyone sane would protest... the arrest of war criminals.
"Democratic Croatia is resolute: War criminals can no longer live freely in here. The rule of law has been enforced," Mr Racan said.
General Andabak was a member of a Bosnia Croat paramilitary unit called the Convicts Battalion.
The commander of the group has already been extradited to the Hague after his arrest earlier this year.
Major-General Kostroman was an aide to a high-ranking Bosnian Croat official, Dario Kordic, who is also on trial at the Hague.
Correspondents say the move is a radical departure from the softly-softly approach of the former president, Franjo Tudjman.