Updated: 19-Apr-2001 NATO Press Releases


15 April 2001

Statement by the Secretary General

On 15 April 2001, SFOR detained Dragan Obrenovic, who is indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY). He is now being processed for transfer to The Hague.

Dragan Obrenovic is under a sealed indictment for war crimes committed between July and November 1995. During this time, acting as commander of the Zvornik Brigades, he is accused of being responsible for the extermination of thousands of Bosnian Muslim males, complicity of genocide, violation of the laws and customs of war, crimes against humanity, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 including murder, torture, and racial and religious persecutions.

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 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 authorizes 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 this action, which will contribute to the continued consolidation of the peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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