Pentagon denies current training for Bosnian 'snatch missions'
August 13, 1997
Web posted at: 2:05 a.m. EDT (0605 GMT)
From Correspondent Eileen O'Connor
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon on Tuesday strongly denied
reports that U.S. and other NATO forces are now training in
Europe for missions designed to snatch war criminals in
U.S. sources told CNN some special training did take place
over the last year, however, in case such missions were
The United States repeatedly has insisted that arrests of war
crimes suspects should be conducted by local law enforcement
or political authorities, but has refused to flatly rule out
the use of NATO troops in such a mission.
Richard Holbrooke, U.S. special envoy to Bosnia, toured the
region last week, issuing stern warnings to leaders there to
remove obstacles to peace -- namely, former Bosnian Serb
leader Radovan Karadzic and Serb military commander Ratko
If Karadzic, Mladic and other suspected war criminals aren't
removed, NATO may step in, Holbrooke warned.
Mission not complete without arrests
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili told CNN
Karadzic must face justice before an international court or
the multiforce mission will not be complete.
With Karadzic's and Mladic's bodyguards heavily armed,
arrests will not be easy, officials say. The Stabilization
Force (SFOR) in Bosnia has started the process of stripping
the bodyguards and local paramilitary units of their heavy
A National Security Council spokesperson says the Clinton
Administration instructed Holbrooke to make it clear to
Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic that it was the
responsibility of the parties, under the Dayton Accord, to
bring the war criminals to justice
The NATO-led force has been turning up the heat on Karadzic,
Mladic and other suspects in recent weeks in hopes of finding
a resolution to the situation, which has been a political
embarrassment and irritant to the Bosnian peace brokers since
the imposed cease-fire in 1995.
The Pentagon insists no special operations are planned,
emphasizing only that justice must be served.
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.