Croatia, Bosnian Serb Police in Blame Game

04 November 2008 Zagreb – Croatian police and their colleagues from Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity are trading accusations over who’s to blame for the narrow escape of a key suspect wanted over the murder of a high-profile journalist.

The suspect, identified as Zeljko Milovanovic, narrowly escaped the arrest operation carried out by the Republika Srpska police on Friday evening near the northern Bosnian town of Doboj, police officials from Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska said.

Croatian police believe Milovanovic is a key suspect in the car bombing which killed Croatian newspaper editor Ivo Pukanic and his marketing chief, Niko Franjic on October 23.
Police in Croatia have already charged five people in connection to the car bombing.
However their Republika Srpska counterparts have been accused of shielding criminals amid allegations someone from the Doboj police force warned Milovanovic about his imminent arrest and allowed him to make a quick escape.

Momir Dejanovic, the President of Republika Srpska-based non-governmental organisation, the Centre for Humane Politics, claimed police in the entity “have been lying for years about their achievements, protecting interests of criminals, piling up unsolved murders, routinely issuing false documents…and protecting murderers and other dangerous criminals wanted by the international police.”

But Darko Ilic from the special prosecutor’s office of Republika Srpska blamed Croatia’s media for naming Milovanovic as a suspect prior to his arrest and it was this that allowed him to make his getaway.

Croatia’s journalists “published information on Milovanovic before conditions had been made for his arrest,” argued Ilic.

However, Croatia’s police spokesman Krunoslav Borovec rebuffed these accusations on Croatian Radio.

“Croatian police informed their Bosnian colleagues about the case much earlier than Milovanovic’s identity was published by Croatian journalists,” Borovec insisted.

Meanwhile Croatian police say they have launched joint patrols with police from Bosnia and Herzegovina and these patrols will be allowed to search areas ten kilometers deep inside each other’s countries.

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