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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03ZAGREB761
2003-04-07 15:35:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

CROATIAN POLICE ARREST INDICTED WAR CRIMINAL RAJIC

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  HR  ICTY 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L ZAGREB 000761 

SIPDIS


STATE FOR EUR, EUR/SCE AND S/WCI
THE HAGUE FOR JOHNSON/KAYE/WHEATON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/13
TAGS: PGOV PREL HR ICTY
SUBJECT: CROATIAN POLICE ARREST INDICTED WAR CRIMINAL RAJIC

REF: ZAGREB 756

CLASSIFIED BY: NICHOLAS HILL, POLITICAL-ECONOMIC COUNSELOR, FOR REASONS
1.5 (B) AND (D).

C O N F I D E N T I A L ZAGREB 000761

SIPDIS


STATE FOR EUR, EUR/SCE AND S/WCI
THE HAGUE FOR JOHNSON/KAYE/WHEATON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/13
TAGS: PGOV PREL HR ICTY
SUBJECT: CROATIAN POLICE ARREST INDICTED WAR CRIMINAL RAJIC

REF: ZAGREB 756

CLASSIFIED BY: NICHOLAS HILL, POLITICAL-ECONOMIC COUNSELOR, FOR REASONS
1.5 (B) AND (D).


1. (C) ON APRIL 5, A DAY AFTER THE RACAN GOVERNMENT
DELIVERED AN ICTY INDICTMENT TO GENERAL JANKO BOBETKO THROUGH
HIS LAWYER (REFTEL), IT TOOK INTO CUSTODY IVICA RAJIC, A
BOSNIAN CROAT AND FORMER COMMANDER OF THE CROAT DEFENSE
COUNCIL (HVO), WHO HAS BEEN WANTED BY THE TRIBUNAL ON WAR
CRIMES CHARGES FOR SEVERAL YEARS. THOMAS OSORIO, HEAD OF THE
ICTY LIAISON OFFICE IN ZAGREB, TOLD US ON APRIL 7 THAT HIS
OFFICE HAD BEEN HOPEFUL ABOUT THE RAJIC ARREST, BUT WAS
SURPRISED BY THE TIMING. PM RACAN HAD PROMISED CHIEF
PROSECUTOR CARLA DEL PONTE BACK IN OCTOBER ON HER LAST VISIT
TO CROATIA THAT AUTHORITIES WOULD NAB RAJIC, BUT THERE HAD
BEEN NO SPECIFIC NEWS RECENTLY.


2. (C) ACCORDING TO OSORIO, IN CONTRAST TO OTHER INDICTED
WAR CRIMINALS -- SUCH AS ANTE GOTOVINA AND EVEN BOBETKO --
RAJIC HAS NO SIZABLE FOLLOWING, OR IN OSORIO'S WORDS, "FAN
CLUB" IN CROATIA. AND AS A BOSNIAN CROAT, HIS ARREST IS
VIEWED HERE AS MUCH LESS CONTROVERSIAL. RAJIC IS A
"PSYCHOPATH" AND REPRESENTED THE "WORST OF THE WORST," OSORIO
SAID. RAJIC WAS INDICTED FOR THE KILLING OF 16 CIVILIANS IN
THE CENTRAL BIH TOWN OF STUPNI DO IN 1995. HE HAD BEEN
PROTECTED BY THE TUDJMAN GOVERNMENT AND OFFERED FALSE
DOCUMENTS. HE HAD REPORTEDLY FLED CROATIA, BUT REPORTS ABOUT
HIS RETURN BEGAN CIRCULATING LAST YEAR. THE POLICE HAVE BEEN
TRACKING HIS ACTIVITIES AND MONITORING HIS FAMILY'S
TELEPHONES. ACCORDING TO PRESS REPORTS, HIS LOCATION WAS
UNCOVERED DURING THE COURSE OF THE ONGOING SEARCH FOR
GOTOVINA.


3. (C) CHIEF OF POLICE RANKO OSTOJIC TOLD US ON APRIL 7
THAT THE ARREST CAME AFTER AN 8-MONTH INVESTIGATION.
ACCORDING TO OSTOJIC, FOR THE PURPOSES OF PROTECTING LAW
ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL, THE POLICE TOLD THE PRESS THAT RAJIC
WAS ARRESTED IN ZAGREB. IN TRUTH, HOWEVER, THE FUGITIVE WAS
TAKEN INTO CUSTODY IN SPLIT. OSTOJIC TOLD US THAT
AUTHORITIES WANT TO "DISMANTLE" THE WHOLE INFRASTRUCTURE
INSIDE THE GOVERNMENT THAT HAS PROTECTED SUSPECTED WAR
CRIMINALS. OSTOJIC NOTED THAT RAJIC'S WIFE, FOR EXAMPLE, WAS
HIRED BY THE PREVIOUS REGIME AND CONTINUES TO WORK FOR THE
MINISTRY OF DEFENSE IN SPLIT.
ROSSIN

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