Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

MONDAY, JULY 27, 1998

5-6War criminals indicted by tribunal belong only in The Hague
6US continues to keep all options open with fugitives Karadzic and Mladic

DPB #91
MONDAY, JULY 27, 1998, 1:00 P.M.


QUESTION: Over the weekend there was a report that the US is going to stop the search of and the pursuit to arrest the two Bosnian war criminals - Mladic and Karadzic. Is this true; has the US stopped the search?

MR. RUBIN: Let me address the question as follows. The United States has made very clear that the war criminals indicted by the international tribunal belong in one place and only one place, and that's The Hague, to face prosecution for the horrendous war crimes and crimes against humanity and other crimes that they have committed.

We have worked with our allies and others in recent weeks and months to bring to justice several dozen such war criminals, either by apprehension or by convincing them to voluntarily

surrender to The Hague. In our view, it is only a matter of time before Rodovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic have their day at The Hague.

With respect to any suggestion that we have changed our policy, let me make very clear we have not changed our policy. We continue to keep open all options in dealing with indicted war criminals in Bosnia, including Rodovan Karadzic; and we continue to pursue and consider our options in this regard. Any suggestion that we have changed our policy and are no longer considering options in this regard is incorrect.

QUESTION: Is it true that there is trepidation among some of our allies, namely the French, that it would basically be a blood bath and that's why possibly some of the plans might have been stalled a bit?

MR. RUBIN: Let me say this - it is very difficult to talk about the planning for such an operation. If it were going to happen, it's not something we would want to talk about; and therefore talking about the thinking that goes into it is extremely difficult. I can repeat for you what I said earlier, which is that several dozen war criminals have been brought to justice. They have been brought to justice both by apprehension and by voluntarily surrendering. Meanwhile the Bosnian peace effort continues, and the SFOR forces continue to do their work and Bosnia continues slowly, slowly to regain the benefits of peace that go with it.

QUESTION: Maybe you can address - there is a fairly fantastic figure in that of the cost of this alleged operation --

MR. RUBIN: No, I don't have any information on cost.

QUESTION: $100 million of the American taxpayers' --

MR. RUBIN: I don't have any information on cost. I can say that the deployment of our forces in Bosnia is not cost-free; it does have considerable costs associated with it. We believe that making peace in Bosnia is something that is in the national interest of the United States and that will cost a lot less for us to try to put peace in place in Bosnia over the next months than it would be to deal with the tragedy if they fell back in to war. So peace is the less costly option. And one part of that, obviously, we've indicated is the more that the war criminals can be brought to justice, the more sustainable the peace will be.


(The briefing concluded at 1:45 P.M.)

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