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Friday, 3 August, 2001, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
More Bosnia arrests urged
Radovan Karadzic
Karadzic: Biggest fish still wanted by tribunal
The Bosnian Serb authorities should act to hand over war crimes suspects still at large, the Muslim member of Bosnia's collective presidency said on Friday.

Beriz Belkic's challenge came after the country's Muslim-Croat federation arrested three former Bosnian Muslim army officers wanted by the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

The tribunal's two most-wanted suspects - Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic - are both believed to be hiding within Bosnian Serb territory.

Mehmed Alagic
Mehmed Alagic was arrested by Bosnian police
Mr Belkic - one of three members of the collective presidency - said that, now the three Muslim army officers had been detained, the Serbs had been set an example.

"I appreciate that the authorities of the Muslim-Croat federation acted in accordance with The Hague's request," Mr Belkic, part of Bosnia's three-man presidency told a news conference.

"I hope that the Republika Srpska authorities will start acting in the same way."

Details of the charges against the three Bosnian Muslims were revealed by the tribunal on Friday for the first time.

Murders, inhumane treatment causing great suffering, wanton destruction and illegal detention

Charges against Bosnian Muslims
Generals Mehmed Alagic and Enver Hadzihasanovic, and Brigadier Amir Kubura, are accused of "grave" breaches of the Geneva Convention in central Bosnia in 1993.

The indictment against them says the most serious crimes facing them were allegedly committed by foreign "mujahideen" fighters under their command. Hundreds of the foreign troops went to Bosnia to join the army during the conflict.

The three officers were accused over "murders, inhumane treatment causing great suffering, wanton destruction and illegal detention," said tribunal spokesman Jim Landale.

Enver Hadzihasanovic
General Hadzihasanovic was picked up in Sarajevo
The men are the highest-ranking Muslim officers to have been indicted so far.

Bosnian Muslim commentators say that some war crimes were committed by the majority Muslim Bosnian army during the war.

But they say that these were isolated incidents and not the planned genocide of which they have accused the Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat armies.

The Bosnian Justice Ministry has agreed to hand over the three men, although the exact timetable is not known.

The country's government has consistently promised full co-operation with the tribunal, including the handover of suspects.

The parliament in the Serb Republic within Bosnia recently approved the first draft of a law on co-operation, but the authorities there have yet to arrest any of the indictees believed to be living on their territory.

Radislav Krstic
Krstic: sentenced to 46 years
The arrests of the three Muslim officers came as Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic was convicted of genocide for his role in the 1995 murder of almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica. He was jailed for 46 years.

It was the court's first conviction for genocide - the most serious of war crimes - in connection with the Bosnia war, and the toughest sentence it has passed so far.

The massacre in the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica - a designated UN safe haven - is regarded as Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.

The BBC's Nick Thorpe
"The local authorities in Bosnia have arrested their own people"
Tony Borden, Institute for War and Peace Reporting
"It is still very early in the day"
See also:

02 Aug 01 | Europe
General guilty of Bosnia genocide
02 Aug 01 | Europe
Q&A: Srebrenica massacre
20 Feb 01 | Europe
Bosnia war criminals lose appeal
16 Nov 98 | Europe
Three guilty in Bosnia trial
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