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Serb wanted for war crimes to surrender, his lawyer says

A third Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect will surrender to the U.N. international tribunal next week, his lawyer said Saturday.

Simo Zaric will give himself up to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Tuesday, said Borislav Pisarevic, a defense lawyer from Bosanski Samac in northern Bosnia.Zaric, a 50-year-old pensioner and one of six men from this northern Bosnian town charged with organizing a "campaign of terror" and systematically killing non-Serbs, will thus follow the lead of two other Serbs who turned themselves in earlier this month.

"He (Zaric) is not just my client, he is a personal friend, and I am fully convinced he is not guilty of the crimes he has been charged with," Pisarevic said.

Pisarevic returned from the Netherlands on Thursday after his two other defendants, Milan Simic and Miroslav Tadic, surrendered to NATO-led troops Feb. 14. Simic and Tadic pleaded innocent to atrocity charges related to the Bosanksi Samac killings before the tribunal on Tuesday.

Their unexpected surrender signaled a turning point in Bosnian Serb cooperation with the international court.

Zaric, a former security service official, led a Serb territorial defense unit in Bosanski Samac when the war started in 1992. He was charged in 1995.

In an interview earlier in the week, Zaric told The Associated Press he committed no war crimes and has been contemplating surrender for the past year, his family being the only reason for the delay.

His surrender would be another step toward the tribunal's quest to try more than 50 indicted war crimes suspects still at large in countries that once formed former Yugoslavia.