updated 8/8/2005 4:28:40 PM ET 2005-08-08T20:28:40

A top Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect, indicted by a U.N. tribunal for some of the worst atrocities in the Bosnian war, was arrested Monday in Argentina.

Milan Lukic was being held at a police station in Buenos Aires and was to be questioned by a judge after being arrested in the city on an “international request,” according to Argentine Federal Police.

Lukic was indicted by the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2000 for crimes against humanity. He also has been sentenced to 20 years in prison in Serbia for war crimes but has been on the run since the late 1990s.

Lukic — among top war crimes suspects wanted by The Hague court — has been charged with abduction and the killing of 20 Muslims from Serbia that took place in 1993 at a border area.

“We heard the news and we greatly appreciate the work of the Argentine police,” said Florence Hartmann, spokeswoman for the chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor.

Sentenced in absentia
Earlier this year, Lukic was sentenced in absentia by a Serbian court to 20 years in prison for his role in the abduction of 16 Muslims from a bus in eastern Serbia in 1992.

Lukic, as a member of a notorious paramilitary group — the Avengers — allegedly took part in the abduction of the Muslims, 15 men and a woman, who were later taken to Bosnia, tortured at a local hotel, executed and their bodies dumped in the Drina River.

Lukic was the second Serb war crimes fugitive to be arrested in Argentina this year. Nebojsa Minic, accused by Serbia of war crimes in Kosovo, was arrested in May in the western Argentine town of Mendoza after a tip from the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch.

Two other top Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitives, wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and military commander Gen. Ratko Mladic, remain at large.

Argentine police said Lukic was picked up in a residential neighborhood of Buenos Aires on Monday, but they did not disclose circumstances surrounding the arrest.

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