Monday, April 12, 2010

Serbia / United Kingdom

Serbia Pursues Ejup Ganic for War Crimes. Or Is It a Vendetta?
By Roy Gutman
McClatchy Newspapers dispatch in The Christian Science Monitor, April 12, 2010
"Eighteen years after the start of the devastating war here, Serbia -- widely viewed as responsible for provoking the break-up of multi-ethnic Yugoslavia -- has asked Britain to extradite a Bosnian leader who was briefly in charge of the country and its military forces. Serbia made the charge against Ejup Ganic, Bosnia's wartime vice-president, in late February, claiming that he ordered Bosnian forces to shoot and kill wounded Serb-led federal troops departing the Bosnia capital by armed convoy in May 1992. The war crimes case comes to a head Tuesday when British authorities decide whether to free Ganic, 64, or send him to face trial in Serbia. Ganic's lawyers and the Bosnian government say that Serbia, a pariah state that has sheltered indicted war criminals since the war ended in 1995, has submitted a politically motivated extradition request whose defects include a flawed explanation of Balkan geography.
The British arrest warrant said Ganic is accused of conspiracy to murder by Serbia, 'the conduct of which occurred in that territory.' In actual fact, the alleged offense occurred in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. According to Damir Arnaut, a Bosnian government legal counsel, the extradition treaty under which the request was made specifies that a murder occur on the territory of the state requesting extradition. The U.N.'s International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia investigated the second charge, that Ganic killed or organized the killing of wounded soldiers, and said it had found no evidence whatsoever. [This] isn't the first time Serbia has sought to press charges against Bosnian leaders where the cited facts are shaky at best. The tribunal investigated similar allegations against Ganic, who at the time was vice president of Bosnia, for nearly a year and dismissed the case in June 2003 for insufficient evidence. Last July, Interpol, the police clearing house, rejected a Serb request for an international warrant against Ganic. [...]"

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