UK court blocks attempt to extradite ex-Bosnian vice president for war crimes

By Raphael G. Satter, AP
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

UK court blocks extradition of ex-Bosnian leader

LONDON — A British court on Tuesday thwarted a Serb attempt to extradite a former Bosnian vice president arrested in London on war crimes charges.

Serbian authorities had wanted former Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic to stand trial for what they say was his role in a 1992 attack on Serb soldiers and have sought his extradition from Britain, where he was arrested in March.

Ganic and Bosnian officials have denied the charges, insisting they are part of a campaign to minimize Serb guilt in the 1992-95 conflict that tore the Balkans apart.

A judge at the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court threw out Serbia’s request, allowing Ganic, 64, to return home.

“I have not been provided with any new evidence that could be described as striking or reliable,” Judge Timothy Workman said. “These proceedings are brought and are being used for political purposes.”

Ganic would be released in due course, he added.

The former leader was arrested by British authorities at London’s Heathrow Airport in March on a Serbian warrant accusing Ganic of ordering an attack on retreating soldiers in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, in the opening days of the Bosnian civil war.

Bosnians expressed relief.

“Justice has finally been done,” Haris Silajdzic, Chairman of Bosnia’s Presidency, told The Associated Press in Sarajevo.

Ganic’s daughter Emina burst into tears as the verdict was read out, hugging her father and brother. Her brother, Emir, said: “We’re all extremely satisfied. This shows how dishonest the Serbian prosecution was.”

He said his father would fly back to Bosnia shortly.

Serbia’s war crimes prosecutor, Vladimir Vukcevic, did not immediately comment.


Associated Press Writer Aida Cerkez in Sarajevo contributed to this story.

will not be displayed