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Former Bosnian President Criticizes British Justice System


Former Bosnian president Ejup Ganic has spoken publicly for the first time since his March arrest in Britain on an extradition request by Serbia for alleged war crimes. Ganic said he was disappointed with Britain's decision to certify the request and allow the extradition proceeding to go forward.

Former Bosnian president Ejup Ganic appeared for the first time in a British court on a Serbian extradition warrant. He was arrested March 1.

The prosecution laid out Serbia's reason for extradition, saying Ganic is accused of war crimes and the unlawful killing of the enemy at the beginning of the Bosnian War in May 1992, in Sarajevo. The defense called the extradition request politically motivated and said Serbia is using Britain's extradition process to continue to wage war on Bosnia by other means.

The judge will meet with the lawyers again next week to decide a timetable for hearings.

Ganic is free on bail but can not leave Britain. Outside the court, the former Bosnian leader spoke publicly for the first time. He said Britain's decision to allow the extradition process to go ahead was a continuation of Serb harassment of Bosnia that took place under former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic.

"It appears that the British government volunteered to do police job for the Milosevic regime, which is still more or less in some way still active," he said.

Ganic said British authorities have not handled this well.

"They have not been hard on Serbs as they should be, and nowadays they are the right arm for Serbs to try to rewrite history saying that everybody was killing everybody," he said. "No, no it was not, you have been in Sarajevo."

Ganic and his defense team say the charges against him have already been addressed by the international criminal court in the Hague, which failed to find any evidence of war crimes. They say the extradition request does not appear to offer new evidence.

"Of course Serbs tried to accuse me, and I went through the Hague process, I was investigated from bottom up and top down, I am free [a] man," Ganic said. "Nothing was find [sic] I did everything correct. There is a chamber of war crimes in Bosnia run by the international judges, they did the same job. So over and over, I am an innocent man."

The Serbian prosecutor traveled from the Serbian capital, Belgrade, to be in the courtroom. He did not speak publicly. The extradition hearing must take place within two months.

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