ICTY war crimes fugitive arrested fr 31 May 2007
Former Bosnian Serb general Zdravko Tolimir has been arrested in Bosnia and transferred to The Hague to face trial at the ICTY.

Zdravko TolimirOn 31 May 2007, former Bosnian Serb general and close aide of Ratko Mladić, Zdravko Tolimir, was arrested in the border region between the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Tolimir, who has been indicted for a number of war crimes including genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, extermination and murder, was transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Friday, 1 June.

Zdravko Tolimir was widely considered the third most important fugitive wanted by the ICTY, after Ratko Mladić and Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadžić who are both still at large. As the Assistant Commander for Intelligence and Security of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS), Tolimir is charged with “intent to destroy a part of the Bosnian Muslim people” for his role in the killing of the populations of Srebrenica and Žepa in 1995. In addition to genocide, Tolimir is alleged to have committed the crime of extermination through the large scale systematic murder of Muslim men from Srebrenica which began on 13 July 1995. According to the Indictment of 28 August 2006, Tolimir committed crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war for his role in the summary executions of Bosnian Muslim men in the Cerska Valley, the deaths of over 1,000 Bosnian Muslim men at the Kravica Warehouse and Sandići meadow, approximately 500 held in the school in Ročevići near Zvornik, and 1,200 Bosnian Muslim males detained at the Kula School near Pilica in eastern Bosnia. By November 1995, the entire Muslim population had been either removed or fled from Srebrenica and Žepa and over 7,000 Muslim men and boys had been murdered by VRS forces.

‘No Hague fugitive can sleep peacefully’

With the arrest of Zdravko Tolimir only five of the 161 people indicted by the ICTY remain at large. As a senior aide to General Mladić and potentially one of the key figures assisting his former commander to evade capture, Tolimir’s arrest could be a significant breakthrough in the hunt for the other fugitives wanted by the ICTY. The Head of Serbia’s office for cooperation with the Tribunal, Rasim Ljajić, said that the detention demonstrated a new determination on the part of the Serbian government in Belgrade. “This is the first time that not a single fugitive from the ICTY can sleep peacefully, because our civilian and military intelligence will work simultaneously on locating them”, he is quoted as saying. The arrest comes ahead of next week’s visit to Serbia by ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte.

ICTY press release