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U.S. Moves To Sanction Republika Srpska Officials

Washington, 30 June 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. government says it strongly supports the UN high representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who fired 60 Bosnian Serb officials in the Republika Srpska over the failure to arrest top war-crime suspect Radovan Karadzic and his associates.

U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters today that the fired officials and the Serbian Democratic Party have prevented Bosnia from fulfilling its obligations to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The UN high representative, Paddy Ashdown, said that the officials he removed included parliament speaker Dragan Kalinic, a wartime ally of Karadzic, and Interior Minister Zoran Djeric.

Karadzic has been indicted by a UN tribunal at The Hague on charges of genocide for his role during the Bosnian conflict, including the Bosnian Serb massacre of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995.

The State Department's Ereli said the United Nations also is fining the Serbian Democratic Party some $600,000. "For its part and in support of the high representative's actions, the United States is freezing the assets of a Republika Srpska-owned firm and three Republika Srpska officials who have provided financial, logistical and security assistance to Radovan Karadzic," he said.

Ereli said Washington is determined to help bring Balkan war-crime suspects to justice.