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Bosnian Serb flown to U.N. court

The U.N.court is headed by Carla del Ponte
The U.N.court is headed by Carla del Ponte  


THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- A Bosnian Serb army officer wanted over the Srebrenica massacre has been flown to The Hague for trial after he turned himself in to the United Nations war crimes tribunal.

Lieutenant-Colonel Dragan Jokic, wartime head of the engineering section of the Zvornik brigade, gave himself up on Wednesday morning to U.N. officials at a NATO base, his lawyer Krstan Simic told Reuters news agency.

Jokic, who is accused of crimes against humanity and breaches of the laws and customs of war, made the decision to surrender after being questioned last month as a suspect by U.N. investigators, Simic said.

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The U.N. tribunal said in a statement that Jokic commanded the engineers of the 1st Zvornik Brigade near Srebrenica, when it fell to Serb forces in July 1995.

Almost most 8,000 Muslim men and boys were later slaughtered and buried in mass graves after Serbs captured the town, which had been under U.N. protection.

Jokic joins former Bosnian Serb general Radislav Krstic in the U.N. detention centre in the Dutch city, two weeks after Krstic was convicted of genocide for the Srebrenica killings.

The massacre was Europe's worst atrocity since World War Two.

The first person convicted of the gravest charge of genocide by the court, Krstic was sentenced to 46 years in jail. Jokic faces lesser charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The net is gradually tightening around Bosnian Serbs suspected of responsibility for the atrocities at Srebrenica.

Vidoje Blagojevic, who commanded an infantry and engineering brigade in the Bosnian Serb Drina Corps, is to appear in court on Thursday to face charges of genocide over the killings.

NATO said in a statement that the arrest was another step in its "drive to arrest the remaining war crime indictees and reflects NATO's commitment to bringing to justice those who perpetrated war crimes and atrocities."

"There will be no hiding place for anyone accused by the (U.N. tribunal) of these horrific crimes. Let today's arrest serve as a warning to those with guilty consciences: there is no escape, turn yourself in," the NATO statement said.

In the past seven weeks, the court has seen the transfer of five high-ranking suspects, including former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, three Muslim military leaders and a Croatian general.






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