Updated: 13-Oct-2000 NATO Press Releases

(2000) 093

13 October 2000

Statement by Secretary General of NATO

Actions by SFOR to detain persons indicted for war crimes

During the night of October 12-13, SFOR forces conducted an operation to arrest Janko Janjic, who was under indictment by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Janko Janjic was under open indictment for war crimes committed between April 1992 and February 1993. Janjic was a sub-commander of the military police and paramilitary leader in the municipality of Foca and the surrounding area. While in this capacity, Janjic committed or participated in the torture and rape of numerous Bosnian Muslim and other non-Serb women. Janko Janjic is accused of crimes against humanity, including torture and rape, grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, and violations of the laws or customs of war.

During the course of the arrest, Mr. Janjic detonated a hand grenade, which killed him and caused minor injuries to a family member and four SFOR soldiers. SFOR soldiers did not fire their weapons. NATO deeply regrets the loss of life as well as the injuries that occurred in the course of this operation. NATO is committed to arresting indicted war criminals and delivering them to The Hague, where they will stand trial. In order to build a lasting peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina, justice must be done to address the crimes of the past.

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 Nations 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 these difficult operations, which are essential to the continued consolidation of the peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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