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Arrest Of Milan Lukic

Authorities in Argentina have arrested Milan Lukic. Indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Mr. Lukic was charged with crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. In a statement, the U.S. State Department says, the U.S. "appreciate[s] the government of Argentina's work to bring fugitive war crimes indictees to justice."

The indictment against Milan Lukic says that on June 14th, 1992, he and others forced more than sixty Bosnian Muslim women, children, and elderly men into a house in Visegrad, in southeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. The house was set on fire and those who tried to flee were shot. Among those murdered were seventeen children between the ages of two days and fourteen years.

Milan Lukic is charged with committing a similar crime in the Visegrad area on June 27, 1992. In that case, he is alleged to have forced a group of Bosnian Muslims inside a house, set it on fire, and caused seventy deaths. According to a statement by the United Nations, "the acts described in the indictment were part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Bosnian Muslim and other non-Serb civilians of the Visegrad area."

Along with Milan Lukic, two others have been indicted for crimes committed in Visegrad. Mitar Vasiljevic was tried and convicted of killing five men and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. A third indictee, Sredoje Lukic, is still at-large.

Earlier this month, Ljiljana Karadzic called on her husband Radovan Karadzic to surrender to the war crimes tribunal. Mr. Karadzic was indicted for his alleged involvement in killing nearly eight-thousand Muslim men and boys near the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack welcomed Mrs. Karadzic's appeal:

"We urge politicians in the region to support and echo this call for surrender."

The U.S. remains committed to denying safe haven to indicted war criminals. A State Department spokesman says, "The U.S. continues to call on all authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly within the Republika Srpska, as well as in Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro, to fulfill their international obligations to the Tribunal at the Hague without further delay. This includes the apprehension and transfer of Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic, Ante Gotovina and all other fugitives on their territories. . . .Every indictee will face justice."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.