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U.S. Reportedly Arrests 26 Bosnian Serbs

(RFE/RL) December 16, 2006 -- Authorities in the United States have reportedly arrested 26 Bosnian Serbs in the past week and accused some of them of taking part in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre during Bosnia-Herzegovina's 1992-95 war.

"The Washington Post" reported that the suspects were arrested in at least eight cities across the country.

They were arrested for allegedly concealing their military service when applying for refugee status, and were charged with visa fraud or making false statements.

The Banja Luka-based daily "Nezavisne novine" quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Nebojsa Regoje as saying that Bosnia has unofficial information that four people were arrested in North Carolina and 18 people in Florida.

U.S. authorities, meanwhile, confirmed one arrest in Wisconsin, and the families of three Bosnian Serbs in Illinois informed the Bosnian Consulate in Chicago their relatives were arrested.

The report said the arrests were made using data supplied by the UN war crimes court at The Hague.

An estimated 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the Srebrenica massacre, which occurred during the final stages of the war. The massacre is considered to be the worst war crime in Europe since World War II.

Meanwhile, the UN's chief war crimes prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, has accused Serbia and Bosnia of hiding the Bosnian war's top leaders. She urged the UN Security Council on December 15 to press both countries to deliver Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic to justice.

"The willful failure of Serbia to cooperate with my office, and in particular to arrest and transfer Mladic and Karadzic, is a demonstration of utmost disrespect towards thousands and thousands of mainly Muslim but also Croat and other non-Serb victims in Bosnia-Herzegovina," she said.

Karadzic and Mladic, the Bosnian Serbs' civilian and military wartime leaders, are the tribunal's most-wanted fugitives, accused of orchestrating the Srebrenica massacre.

(Reuters, UPI, AP)