Washington, 4 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - The United States yesterday refuted news reports that NATO peacekeepers in Bosnia have been ordered to arrest former Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic as indicted war criminals.
Spokesmen at the White House and at the State Department said the story, first reported by Bosnian Serb television and later by Reuters, was not true.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said there has been no change in the instructions for the NATO-led peacekeeping force. He said rules of engagement remain that if they encounter people who they know to be indicted war criminals, they are to detain them for transfer to civilian authority so they may be arrested and then turned over to The Hague for prosecution.
White House spokesman Michael McCurry said the mission objective for the peacekeepers has not changed.