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Bosnia-Herzegovina: EU Official Calls For Condemnation Of War Criminal

Banja Luka, 20 April 2001 (RFE/RL) -- A top EU official appealed to Bosnian Serbs today to have nothing to do with their former leader and accused war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Doris Pack, chairwoman of the EU parliamentary committee on foreign relations, security, and defense made the call during a visit to Banja Luka.

Pack also said that Karadzic "could help his own people" by giving himself up to the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Karadzic led the Bosnian Serbs during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. He is believed to remain in eastern Bosnia.

In a related development some 5,000 people took to the streets of the eastern Bosnian Serb town of Zvornik today to protest the recent arrest of a Bosnian Serb officer by UN peacekeepers.

Troops of the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) stepped up security at the entrance to the city for the rally, and helicopters were seen flying overhead.

Dragan Obrenovic, the commander of the Bosnian Serb Zvornik brigade during the 1992-95 war, was arrested by SFOR troops in Bosnia on Sunday.

He was flown straight to The Hague where on Wednesday he pleaded not guilty before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to charges of complicity in genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

The charges stem from the execution of thousands of Muslim men after Bosnian Serb forces overran the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995.