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Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 21:14 GMT 22:14 UK
Bosnian Serbs adopt war crimes law
Radovan Karadzic
Radovan Karadzic's arrest could be drawing nearer
The Bosnian Serb parliament has finally adopted a law on co-operating with the international war crimes tribunal.

The long-awaited decision could bring closer the arrest of the tribunal's two most-wanted men - former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, and military commander Ratko Mladic.


We would like to see action rather than words

Tribunal spokesman Jim Landale
Both men are believed to be hiding on Bosnian Serb territory.

Tribunal officials say the Bosnian Serbs should now start arresting war crimes suspects rather than just pledging to co-operate.

"We would like to see action rather than words," said tribunal spokesman Jim Landale.

The tribunal wanted "immediate and concrete signs of co-operation" from the Bosnian Serb republic, he said.

Arrests

The bill was adopted by a vote of 42 to 9 with 25 abstentions.

Under the new law, the Bosnian Serb authorities within Bosnia have pledged to co-operate with the tribunal in bringing suspects to justice.

Local police will have to arrest suspects and bring them before a local judge within 24 hours of receiving a request from an ICTY prosecutor.

The judge then has another 24 hours to decide whether to detain the suspect and hand him over the indictment.

Genocide charges

Mr Karadzic and General Mladic were indicted five years ago by the tribunal on charges of genocide.

Tribunal officials believe they and more than a dozen other suspects are hiding in the Bosnian Serb-controlled areas of the country.

The Bosnian Serb authority is the last in the former Yugoslavia to hand over suspects, and it has faced increasing pressure to do so.

It has previously resisted the idea of co-operating, saying that the tribunal is biased against Serbs.

See also:

27 Sep 01 | Europe
Bosnian general denies war crimes
11 Jan 01 | Europe
Analysis: Plavsic's surrender
29 Aug 01 | Europe
Plavsic wins temporary release
09 Aug 01 | Europe
Bosnian Muslims deny war crimes
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