Serbia - Bosnia

Serbia to appeal British rejection of Ganic extradition

AFP

A British judge on Tuesday rejected a bid by Serbia to secure the extradition of former Bosnian leader Ejup Ganic on war crimes charges, saying the case against him was politically motivated.District Judge Timothy Workman declared Ganic free to return to his home country, five months after he was arrested at London's Heathrow airport.  

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"These proceedings are brought and are being used for political purposes and as such amount to an abuse of the process of this court," Workman said in his judgement at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London. He added that there was no “valid justification for commencing proceedings against Dr. Ganic".

Ganic, the acting president of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time of the incidents in question in May 1992, intends to leave Britain late Tuesday. He hopes to be back in Sarajevo on Wednesday, his family said.

In Bosnia, the Croat member of Bosnia's tripartite presidency Zeljko Komsic hailed the ruling as the "right decision".

But Serbia immediately said it would appeal against the ruling. Serbia's war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic denied the charge that the bid to get Ganic extradited was politically motivated.

Belgrade sought Ganic's extradition on charges related to a series of alleged atrocities in Sarajevo in May 1992, at the outset of the three-and-a-half year Bosnian war. Serbia claimed Ganic personally commanded attacks on a military hospital, a Yugoslav army officers' club and ambulances.

Yet Ganic's lawyers argued throughout the six-day hearing that he was innocent. That argument was supported by witnesses including Christian Schwarz-Schilling and Lord Paddy Ashdown, both former high representatives in Bosnia.

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