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Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 13:00 UK

Top Bosnian Serb suspect detained

Bosnian Serb Stojan Zupljanin (file picture May 1998)

Indicted Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Stojan Zupljanin has been arrested near the Serbian capital, Belgrade, justice officials have said.

He is one of four top Serb leaders still wanted for war crimes by the UN tribunal in The Hague.

A commander in the city of Banja Luka during the 1992-95 Bosnia war, Mr Zupljanin is charged with killing Muslim and Croat civilians.

His arrest is a condition for Serbia's advancement towards EU membership.

Mr Zupljanin, who has been at large for 13 years, will be sent to the Hague tribunal for trial on charges of crimes against humanity.

"Stojan Zupljanin was arrested today [Wednesday] near Belgrade... Police and security agents took part in the operation. He should be extradited to The Hague in the next 72 hours," a spokesman for Serbia's special war crimes prosecutor's office told Reuters news agency.

Mr Zupljanin, 56, was found at an apartment about 8km (5 miles) from the centre of Belgrade and will be taken to an investigative judge at the war crimes court in Belgrade before being sent abroad, the spokesman added.

Once in The Hague, "within a day or two, he will make his first appearance before the judges, and he will be given the opportunity to enter a plea," a spokeswoman for the tribunal said.

The other high-profile suspects still at large are Bosnian Serb military commander Gen Ratko Mladic, Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and Goran Hadzic, wartime president of the self-proclaimed Serb republic of Krajina.

The European Union has made the handover of the indicted fugitives a condition for closer co-operation with Serbia.





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