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Powell, in Bosnia, urges war crimes arrests

Says he 'won't be happy' until Karadzic goes to trial


YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Europe
Secretary of State
Radovan Karadzic

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell called on Bosnians on Saturday to enact reforms and to arrest former Bosnian Serb leaders accused of war crimes.

Powell, on a trip through the region, specifically called for the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, who was indicted in 1996 on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia at The Hague.

"I won't be happy until I see Mr. Karadzic and others standing before the bar of justice," Powell said. "I know the hunt continues."

Karadzic and his former military chief, Ratko Mladic, are charged with being the masterminds behind the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, in which Serb militias rounded up and killed about 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

"I hope those who may be harboring these individuals realize the future of their country is being held at risk by allowing these individuals to remain free," Powell said.

Karadzic is thought to be in hiding in Bosnia's Serb Republic. Mladic is thought to be in neighboring Serbia-Montenegro.

Last month, the U.N. High Representative to Bosnia sacked 60 high-level Serb officials because they failed to arrest war crimes suspects.

Powell, in meetings with top Bosnian officials Saturday, also called for economic and political changes that could help rebuild the region torn by ethnic strife.

Powell said he wants to see Bosnia-Herzegovina become a part of NATO and the European Union. Although the government has made changes, including building its defense operations, more are needed for the country to be accepted into those international bodies, he said.

With Bosnia making strides toward stability, including a drop in ethnic violence and the return home of nearly 1 million refugees, NATO troops will be replaced in December by a smaller peacekeeping force led by the European Union.

In recent years, NATO has been gradually cutting its troops in Bosnia; it has about 7,000 in the region. A small number of NATO forces will remain past December to assist in the hunt for war criminals and fight terrorism.

The United States is considering keeping a military base in the country.

Powell is scheduled to travel Sunday to Poland, where he will help mark the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising.

CNN's Elise Labott contributed to this report.


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