A Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect was arrested by NATO peacekeepers and flown to The Hague today to stand trial on charges of enslaving and raping Muslim women in 1992 and 1993.

Radomir Kovac, 38, was detained in his apartment in Foca in southeastern Bosnia. German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping said German and French troops played a "key role" in the operation in the French sector of Bosnia.

Kovac will answer two counts of crimes against humanity when he makes his initial appearance before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, probably later this week. If convicted, he could face up to life imprisonment.

The 1996 "Foca" indictment, which names Kovac and seven others, was the first to focus on rape as a war crime. According to prosecutors, Kovac imprisoned several women in an apartment in Foca from October 1992 to February 1993. There, the indictment says, they were raped, sexually assaulted, humiliated and enslaved.

Another accused man, former paramilitary commander Dragoljub Kunarac, is already in custody in The Hague. He pleaded guilty to rape last year but later reversed his plea. A third suspect, Dragan Gagovic, was shot dead by NATO-led French troops in January during a botched arrest attempt.

Kovac is one of 29 people in custody at the tribunal's Scheveningen detention unit. To date the court has secured seven convictions and issued one acquittal.