Warcrimes suspect seized in YU

BANJA LUKA, Apr 24, 2000 -- (AFP) Warcrimes suspect Dragan Nikolic was not seized in Bosnia, but in neighboring Yugoslavia, a newspaper said Monday, quoting a lawyer close to the family.

Borisa Ilic told the newspaper Nezavisne Novine that Nikolic was not arrested by the SFOR peacekeeping force in Bosnia, as the force claimed Friday, but had instead been picked up in Yugoslavia by unidentified civilians.

In a phone call to his family following his arrest, Nikolic said he was arrested in Smderevo, Yugoslavia, rather than in his Bosnian hometown Vlasenica, 60 kilometers (40 miles) northeast of Sarajevo, Ilic said.

Nikolic said he had been detained by "unknown civilians" and "transferred into Bosnia and Herzegovina through the rivers Dunav, Sava and Drina", Ilic said, adding that then Nikolic was handed over to "another group of civilians".

Nikolic, 43, who was the first Bosnian war crimes suspect to be indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), was arrested Friday by troops from the NATO-led Stabilization Force in Bosnia (SFOR), and transferred the following day to the tribunal in The Hague.

SFOR said Nikolic was arrested in the sector under US command, but did not specify in which town.

Nikolic, the former head of the Susica detention camp in eastern Bosnia, is charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

Original article