Updated: 06-Mar-2000 NATO Press Releases

(2000) 022

5 March 2000

Statement by

NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, concerning the detention of Dragoljub Prcac

On 5 March, 2000 SFOR detained Dragoljub Prcac, who is indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY). He is now being processed for transfer to the court in The Hague. Details will be provided in due course by the operational commanders.

Dragoljub Prcac is under open indictment for war crimes committed between 25 May and 30 August 1992. Prcac was the deputy commander in charge of the Omarska "prisoner" camp in the opstina of Prijedor. In his capacity as deputy, Prcac held a position of authority and was superior to all others in the camp except the commander. Dragoljub Prcac is accused of being criminally responsible for the acts of his subordinates in committing crimes against humanity, including murder, torture, rape, inhumane acts and unlawful detention in violation of the laws and customs of war.

Today's action is another step in NATO's drive to arrest the remaining war crime indictees. Each one sent to The Hague makes it easier to build a lasting peace in the Balkans. There will be no hiding place for anyone accused by the ICTY of these horrific crimes. Let today's arrest, the fourth in three months, serve as a warning to those with guilty consciences. It is time to turn yourself in.

This action was undertaken in accordance with SFOR's mandate that authorises detention operations for such persons. It was within the mandate given to SFOR by the North Atlantic Council under authority contained in the relevant United Security Council Resolutions.

The parties to the Dayton Peace Agreement remain responsible for co-operating in the investigation and prosecution of war crimes and other violations of international/humanitarian law. SFOR will continue to do its part by carrying out its mandate in a firm and even-handed manner.

SACEUR, as overall commander for SFOR, has kept me fully informed of this action. I should like to commend 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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