SFOR officer helped Karadzic to escape

A German newspaper quotes the head of the US diplomatic observers’ mission in Kosovo, claiming that a French officer gave a crucial tip-off to Karadzic immediately before the operation to catch him was launched.

The Hamburger Abendblatt quotes Shaun Barnes, head of the mission of US diplomatic observers in Kosovo, as having declared that “A French officer gave the operation away” to Karadzic, enabling him to escape.

A second source, unnamed, was quoted by the same newspaper. It claimed that an officer from a Western European country had confirmed that a French Army officer telephoned a superior official of the Bosnian Serb police on Thursday morning, telling him that an operation to capture Radovan Karadzic was under way, declaring that “everyone knows the motives” when asked why there were so many SFOR troops in the region.

The operation to capture Radovan Karadzic, the ex-leader of the Bosnian Serbs, failed as SFOR troops surrounded the village of Celibici in South-Eastern Bosnia, only to find that their prey had slipped away before they arrived. Karadzic has been indicted since November, 1995 for war crimes and genocide by the International Penal Court for alleged activities carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. He has been in hiding ever since, reportedly in the eastern part of the Republika Srpska, in Bosnia.

The French Defence Ministry has requested proof of the allegation from SFOR, while Francois Rivasseau, French Foreign Ministry spokesperson, declared that “everything which is aimed at claiming that it was the will of France (that Karadzic should escape) is unacceptable and intolerable”.


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