Nato fears Karadzic is about to escape

Richard Norton-Taylor

Monday August 14, 2000

Nato governments are coming under renewed pressure to seize Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader indicted by a tribunal in the Hague for war crimes, amid rumours that he is planning to flee to Serbia.

Mr Karadzic is believed to be hiding under heavy guard near Pale, in Serb-controlled eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina, where French soldiers are controlling the international peacekeeping force, S-For.

The French have been criticised for not being robust enough towards indicted war criminals; two years ago, a French military intelligence officer was summoned to Paris after he was alleged to have warned Mr Karadzic of plans to kidnap him.

Western diplomats say, however, that the French are preparing to adopt a more aggressive approach, while admitting that Mr Karadzic can not be taken without the help of the US forces, whose sector in north-east Bosnia borders on the French one. Only the Americans, diplomats say, have the necessary intelligence resources - human and technical - to seize Mr Karadzic. "They are watching him all the time," one diplomat said.

Recent press reports expressing Nato's determination to capture Mr Karadzic appear to have been prompted by rumours of his impending flight to Serbia, where he will be outside S-For's mandate.

Original article