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01 June 2007

International wanted persons notice issued for escaped war criminal

INTERPOL has issued an international wanted persons notice for a war criminal who escaped from a Bosnian prison on 25 May.

Radovan Stankovic was serving a 20-year sentence for crimes against humanity. He was the subject of a previous INTERPOL Red Notice issued in 1996 at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and cancelled in 2002 after his arrest in Bosnia.

The INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Sarajevo sent out an urgent message to alert police in INTERPOL’s 186 member countries about the escape, and worked with INTERPOL on the issue of the new notice.

‘NCB Sarajevo’s move to alert police throughout the world of the escape and work with INTERPOL to issue a new Red Notice for Radovan Stankovic shows how we can co-operate to prevent war criminals and other dangerous individuals from evading justice,’ said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

‘This is also an excellent example of how having international protocols and structures in place to alert the world’s police of prison breaks by dangerous criminals would contribute to enhanced global security.’

INTERPOL has been co-operating with the ICTY since 1995, mainly through issuing Red Notices for war-crime suspects and co-ordinating such requests from other countries. Last week, former Bosnian Serb general Zdravko Tolimir was arrested at the Bosnia-Serbia border on the basis of a Red Notice issued at the request of the ICTY in December 2005. He was the international tribunal’s third most wanted individual.

Prison escapes of suspected terrorists and other dangerous criminals have been a key agenda item during discussions between INTERPOL and the United Nations and the G8, and at the recently concluded INTERPOL European Regional Conference in Varna, Bulgaria.

In 2006, 38 countries from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas reported prison escapes to INTERPOL, some of which included suspected or convicted Al Qaeda members and other terrorists and dangerous individuals.

A resolution at the INTERPOL General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro in September 2006 recognised the need for member countries to use INTERPOL channels to alert one another of such incidents.

Mr Noble also discussed the issue with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during their meeting in April and before the G8 justice and interior ministers last week in Germany.