Serbian police arrest war crimes fugitive subject of INTERPOL Red Notice
A Bosnian Serb commander during the Balkans conflict wanted by a United Nations war crimes tribunal and subject to an INTERPOL Red Notice, or international wanted persons notice, was arrested by Serbian police near Belgrade on Wednesday, Serbian authorities have confirmed.
Stojan Zupljanin, aged 56, had been charged by the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) with crimes against humanity for allegedly overseeing prison camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the 1992-95 civil war. He is one of the last four remaining war crimes fugitives wanted by the UN tribunal, along with Ratko Mladic, Radovan Karadzic and Goran Hadzic.
Zupljanin, who was using a false name when arrested, was positively identified through DNA comparison. Primary photo and fingerprint comparisons were facilitated by INTERPOL following a thorough exchange of messages and identification material between its Fugitive Investigative Support (FIS) unit at the organization’s General Secretariat in Lyon, France, and its National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in Belgrade and Sarajevo supported by INTERPOL’s 24-hour Command and Co-ordination Centre.
“The arrest of this individual proves that fugitive war crimes suspects are within reach of the rule of law and marks another major step toward ensuring that those responsible for war crimes will be held accountable for their actions,” said INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services, Jean-Michel Louboutin.
Zupljanin was initially indicted in 1999, when he was charged with genocide, but that indictment was later amended to war crimes and crimes against humanity. He will first appear before a local court to be informed of his indictment before being extradited to the ICTY at The Hague.
INTERPOL’s 37th European Regional Conference ended on 30 May with a recommendation for its NCBs in all of its 186 member countries to provide the widest possible assistance to locate and arrest the four remaining fugitives wanted by the ICTY before its scheduled closure in December 2008.
Zupljanin’s apprehension is the latest in a series of arrests of individuals following close co-operation between international criminal tribunals, INTERPOL’s fugitives unit and NCBs around the world. During the past year, four men wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in connection with the Rwandan genocide have been taken into custody following active support from INTERPOL.