Croatia moves against own war crimes suspects

ZAGREB, Sep 13, 2000 -- (Reuters) Croatia arrested a dozen people, including two army generals, on Tuesday in what appeared to be a major crackdown against those allegedly involved in wartime atrocities in Bosnia and Croatia.

General Ivan Andabak and Major-General Ignac Kostroman were apprehended earlier in the day in two different towns at the request of the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, the state TV said in its main news program.

Both are suspected of taking part in crimes against Bosnian Muslims during the 1993-94 conflict in the neighboring country.

Andabak was a member of a notorious Bosnian Croat paramilitary unit, called the Convicts Battalion. Its commander Mladen "Tuta" Naletilic was extradited to the Hague tribunal earlier this year and is awaiting trial.

Kostroman was an aide to former high-ranking Bosnian Croat official Dario Kordic, who is being tried by the tribunal.

Andabak, described as a former member of an extremist Croatian emigrant organization with links to the Irish Republican Army, was also said to be among suspects in the investigation into last year's murder of Bosnian Interior Minister Jozo Leutar. There was no independent confirmation.

The arrests marked a leap forward in cooperation with the ICTY, whose requests were largely ignored by the former Croatian government of the late President Franjo Tudjman.

In a separate action, some 10 people were arrested in connection with the recent murder of a man who helped the Hague investigators with probes into wartime events in the frontline town of Gospic, where dozens of Serb civilians were allegedly executed.

Earlier on Tuesday, police issued international arrest warrants for two other suspects wanted for the 1993 massacre of Muslim civilians in the central Bosnian village of Ahmici.

The Interior Ministry's Interpol department issued the warrants for Pasko Ljubicic and Vlado Cosic, Bosnian Croats with Croatian citizenship, because of strong suspicion they may have fled Croatia.

Last week police in the Adriatic port of Zadar arrested Bosnian Croats Tomislav Vlajic and Ante Sliskovic, also accused of involvement in the Ahmici massacre.

The four had lived in Croatia for several years, sheltered and provided with false identities by the secret services of Tudjman's nationalist government.

The independent weekly Nacional said the two fugitives were believed to be hiding in Bosnia's southern region of Herzegovina, the bastion of ethnic Croat nationalism during the 1992-95 war in the former Yugoslav republic.

Original article