Milosevic sold out war crimes suspect Krajisnik

PODGORICA, Apr 5, 2000 -- (Reuters) The Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect arrested early Monday by NATO troops was sold out by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, a Montenegrin minister alleged on Tuesday.

"It is very probable that Milosevic negotiated the arrest of Krajisnik with the international community to gain time and stay in power," Montenegro's justice minister Dragan Soc told AFP.

French troops with the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia arrested Momcilo Krajisnik in the early hours of Monday in Pale on an international warrant for war crimes.

"Milosevic is tremendously strong and I think that once again he has gained time by doing deals," Soc added.

He condemned the use of sealed indictments by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) -- Krajisnik was one of those indicted in that way -- and condemned the manner of his arrest.

Soc's accusation came as relations between the Yugoslav republics of Montenegrin and Serbia remained as tense as ever, with reports that Montenegro will hold a referendum on independence within months.

Last month, Montenegrin president Milo Djukanovic alleged in an interview with the New York Times that Milosevic was planning to overthrow his pro-Western government.

The ICTY has announced that Krajisnik, former speaker of the Bosnian Serb assembly and the highest-ranking political figure to be arrested so far, will make his first court appearance in the Hague on Friday.

He was indicted by the tribunal in February on nine charges relating to the conduct of the 1991-1992 war, including genocide and complicity in genocide.

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