ClariNet Homepage

Croatian police arrest former Serb officer suspected of war crimes

Friday, 08-Aug-2003 5:00AM PDT
Story from AFP
Copyright 2003 by Agence France-Presse (via ClariNet)

ZAGREB, Aug 8 (AFP) - Croatian police have arrested a former member of rebel Serbian troops suspected of committing war crimes and trying to blow up a hydro-electric dam in southern Croatia during the 1991-95 war, police said Friday.

The 54-year-old man, identified only as D.S., was arrested Thursday at the border-crossing with Bosnia near the southern town of Knin, a wartime Serbian stronghold.

BizVantageSerious & personalized business, investment and technology intelligence for a serious advantage.
Try the free, no-hassle 6 month trial!

The man -- said to be a former officer in the Serbian paramilitary troops -- is suspected of maltreating and persecuting Croatian civilians with his unit in the nearby town of Vrlika, when the area was under Serbian occupation during the war, said police spokeswoman Tina Disopra.

Police also said that he is suspected of planting several tons of explosives in the foundations of the Peruca hydro-electric dam, near the town of Sinj, in January 1993.

Before planting the explosives, Serbian forces had driven away members of a Kenyan batallion serving in a UN force that was securing the dam. The dam was partly damaged in the blast.

The suspect was put into detention in the coastal town of Split and is to be questioned there by a judge.

During the war, Belgrade-backed rebel Serbs occupied one-third of Croatian territory, expelling most of its non-Serbian population.

The key Knin area was retaken by Croatian army in August 1995 in a military operation which marked the near-end of the conflict.