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Croatia Seeks EU Help To Find War Crimes Fugitive

Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader (file photo) 10 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader appealed to EU member states on 10 October to help find his country's best-known war crimes indictee, former General Ante Gotovina.

On a visit to the Czech Republic to discuss EU integration, Sanader told RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service that Gotovina is not in Croatia.

"Every indictee should be brought to justice. There is no exception," Sanader said. "Nobody can be above the law or beyond the law, neither Gotovina nor anyone else. Until we solve that issue, the action plan [to find him] remains in operation. But since our information indicates that Gotovina is not hiding in Croatia, we must seek help from EU member countries. We should ask them to help in this matter, because he obviously is not in Croatia."

The Hague-based war crimes tribunal has indicted Gotovina for alleged crimes against Serbian civilians in August 1995, when Croatian forces under his command ended the Serbs' four-year revolt.

Failure to arrest Gotovina has been holding up his country's plans to join the EU, which is the government's top foreign policy priority, although final membership talks are expected to begin soon.

The Zagreb authorities maintain that Gotovina is not in Croatia and has probably fled by using a French or other foreign passport dating from his earlier years in the French Foreign Legion.