The official, who requested anonymity, said: "Vinko Pandurevic has contacted the Bosnian Serb government regarding his possible surrender.
 

"If the negotiations are successful he should be transferred to The Hague on Tuesday," he added. 

 

The UN court at The Hague indicted Pandurevic in 1999 on counts of genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in the massacre of up to 8000 Muslim civilians in the UN-controlled safe haven of Srebrenica, the worst atrocity in Europe since the second world war.

 

During Bosnia's war Pandurevic was lieutenant-colonel and commander of a brigade of the eastern town of Zvornik.

He was promoted to general in 1997, but retired a year later.


Responsibility for massacre

 

In Pandurevic's indictment, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) presented the 45-year-old as the third in a hierarchy of those responsible for the Srebrenica massacre, after generals Ratko Mladic and Radoslav Krstic.

 

Numerous mass graves of Muslim
civilians have been uncovered

Krstic was sentenced in 2001 to 46 years in prison for genocide, but in April the ICTY's appeals chamber cut his sentence to 35 years for aiding and abetting genocide in Srebrenica.


Mladic and Bosnian Serb war-time political leader Radovan, also sought for the Srebrenica slaughter, still remain at large somewhere in the former Yugoslavia, where they are seen as heroes by hardline Serb nationalists.


Reward

The Bosnian Serb government said earlier this week families of war crimes suspects who surrendered by the end of the year would receive a cheque of 25,000 euros ($34,000).

 

The Bosnian Serb entity of Republika Srpska, which along with the Muslim-Croat Federation makes up post-war Bosnia, has not arrested a single war crimes suspect wanted by the UN war crimes court.

 

It is regularly accused of obstruction and of protecting war crimes suspects, including Karadzic, the Balkans' most-wanted fugitive, who has been indicted for crimes including genocide.

 

Bosnia's war claimed nearly 200,000 lives and forced more than two million people, more than half the country's population, to flee their homes.