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Monday, August 2, 1999 Published at 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK

World: Europe

Nato grabs war crimes suspect

Karadzic and Mladic, the two main war crimes suspects, remain at large

The Nato-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia-Hercegovina has arrested a former ethnic Serb paramilitary leader suspected of war crimes.

Gillian Sharpe: Women were humiliated and degraded for months on end
The man, Radomir Kovac, was indicted with seven other Serbs three years ago on charges of sexually abusing and torturing Bosnian Muslim women in the town of Foca during the 1992-1995 war that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia.

One of those charged is already in custody and another was shot dead in an incident with Nato troops earlier this year.

Abused then sold

Nato said Mr Kovac was arrested by French S-For troops early on Monday in south-eastern Bosnia.

[ image: Louise Arbour, chief prosecutor in the Hague, is expected to put Kovac on trial]
Louise Arbour, chief prosecutor in the Hague, is expected to put Kovac on trial
He is expected to be transferred to the Hague to face trial at the International War Crimes Tribunal for former Yugoslavia.

The BBC's correspondent at the Hague, Gillian Sharpe, says in one alleged incident a 15-year-old girl was made to dance naked on a table in front of Mr Kovac.

Prosecutors say he then sold the girl and another woman to Montenegrin soldiers for 500 Deutschmarks each.

Many still at large

One month ago, British S-For troops detained a former Bosnian Serb deputy prime minister on war crimes charges.

Radoslav Brdjanin is already awaiting trial at the Hague.

So far, the War Crimes Tribunal has tried or publicly indicted 66 people, 35 of whom are still at large - among them the two main suspects wanted by the Tribunal - the former Bosnian Serb President, Radovan Karadzic, and his military commander, General Ratko Mladic.

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