22 July 1998


by the Secretary General of NATO, Dr Javier SOLANA
on SFOR's Action Against Indicted War Criminals

On 22 July 1998 SFOR detained two individuals who are believed to be indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The indictments in question were issued in July 1995 for grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, violations of the laws or customs of war and crimes against humanity committed by guards at the Keraterm Detention Camp near Prijedor in 1992. The two individuals detained are now being processed for transfer to the Hague, where ICTY will be responsible for their positive identification. Details will be provided in due course by the operational commanders.

This action was undertaken in accordance with SFOR's mandate which authorizes it to detain such persons when encountered in the course of its duties. This mandate was given to SFOR by the North Atlantic Council under authority contained in the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

SFOR will continue to carry out its mandate firmly and fairly and will not tolerate any behaviour by any party contrary to the Peace Agreement.

This action by SFOR serves as yet another warning to all those indicted for war crimes who are still at large that they, too, will be brought to justice. Once again I call on them to surrender immediately to the ICTY. The parties to the Peace Agreement must also comply fully with their commitment to transfer indicted war criminals to the ICTY.

SACEUR, as overall commander for SFOR, has kept me fully informed of this action. I should like to praise the SFOR troops and their commanders for their courage, professionalism and dedication in carrying out this action, which will contribute to the continued consolidation of the peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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