Thursday, August 26, 1999 Published at 21:36 GMT 22:36 UK
Prosecutor defiant on war crimes arrest
General Talic (right) will appear before the tribunal next week
The UN's chief war crimes prosecutor, Louise Arbour, has defended the use of secret indictments after bitter criticism of the arrest of Bosnian Serb General Talic on Wednesday.
The Bosnian Serb government reacted angrily, saying the action was "incomprehensible".
But in an interview with the BBC Ms Arbour said the issuing of secret arrest warrants provided the chance of successfully bringing suspects before the tribunal in The Hague.
"If they discharge their obligations we wouldn't have to take these kind of measures and call on third parties to assist us," she said.
Until they do so, Ms Arbour said, "they have no standing to complain that the law is following its course."
Not even Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic could feel safe from arrest, she said.
He is the highest-ranking officer from the former Yugoslavia to be arrested on war crimes charges.
It is alleged that General Talic ordered and implemented a plan to purge the Prijedor and Sanski Most areas of Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats and other non-Serbs - an operation in which hundreds were killed.
He could face life imprisonment if convicted.
And he warned that the incident could be potentially damaging to the organisation's short-term operations in the Balkan region.
There has also been speculation that many former and serving officials from the former Yugoslavia may now think twice before leaving their country.
However, Ms Arbour denied suggestions that seeking justice for war crimes could upset the healing process within Bosnia and said that bringing suspects to trial was an intrinsic part of bringing long-term peace to the region.