Serb War Crime Suspect Reportedly Surrenders
April 21, 2003
BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serb war crimes suspect Miroslav Radic, wanted for the killing of 200 civilians in Croatia in 1991, has surrendered to Belgrade authorities, Beta news agency reported on Monday. Quoting Serbian government sources, Beta said Radic had been brought before an investigative judge in Belgrade. No further details on the hearing were immediately available.
The U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague has indicted three former Yugoslav army officers -- Radic, Veselin Sljivancanin and Mile Mrksic -- for the killings near the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar in November 1991.
The indictment says the three are responsible for the deaths of the 200 civilians who were beaten and shot after being taken from Vukovar's hospital when the town fell to Serb forces.
Mrksic surrendered to the tribunal last year while Sljivancanin is still at large.
Radic is the least known of the Vukovar Three. The tribunal's 1995 indictment did not even specify his age, saying only he was "approximately 35 years of age."
It said he was a captain and had led a special infantry unit that was part of the First Guards Motorized Brigade, commanded by Mrksic and Sljivancanin.
Local media said he had left military service in 1993 to start a private business in Serbia.
The Serb reformers who ousted former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, himself on a trial for war crimes in The Hague, have been under intense Western pressure to step up cooperation with the tribunal, but many ordinary Serbs believe the U.N. court is biased against them.
The assassination last month of reformist Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, however, sparked a new effort among ruling reformers to arrest and transfer Serbians accused of atrocities during the 1990s Balkan wars.
Officials said those behind the assassination, blamed on a powerful criminal group linked to a special police unit set up during Milosevic's rule, were also involved in war crimes and wanted to bring down the government.
On April 14, the parliament of Serbia and Montenegro cleared the way for its nationals to be extradited to the tribunal regardless of the time of the indictments. Previously, only those indicted before the law was passed could be handed over.