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Former Bosnian President to Stay in London Jail

  • Jennifer Glasse

A British court has determined that former Bosnian leader Ejup Ganic will remain in a London jail until at least next Thursday when his bail hearing will be reconvened. Ganic was arrested by British police Monday on suspicion of war crimes after the Republic of Serbia indicated it would ask for him to be extradited.

Ejup Ganic has been in a British prison since Monday, when he was arrested by British police in connection with alleged war crimes in Bosnia. The Serbian government has not yet made a formal extradition request to the United Kingdom, Ganic is being held on a provisional arrest warrant. On Friday judges decided the former Bosnian leader will remain in jail until at least next Thursday when they hope to see more evidence about why he is wanted by Serbia.

"The judges decided they had insufficient information from the Serbian authorities to come to a view so therefore the matter's been adjourned until next Thursday to give the Serbian authorities a short amount of time to effectively make good their request," said Stephen Gentle, one of Ganic's lawyers.

Gentle says he is not certain the Serbian authorities have more evidence. The alleged war crime they wish to prosecute Ganic for occurred in 1992. In 2003 lawyers at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague looked at the case drawn up by a Serbian military court and ruled there was not enough evidence to charge anyone with war crimes, or even that a war crime had been committed. Gentle believes the Serbs do not have a case now either.

"On the basis of what I've seen thus far I think the Serbian request is fundamentally flawed and obviously I've seen the independent evidence which has been supplied in court today and it seems to me that the Serbian request is misconceived," Gentle added.

In court another of Ganic's attorneys said the Serbian request was clearly political and timed to coincide with the appearance at The Hague tribunal of the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Ganic's daughter, Emina Ganic, says the accusations show that Serbia is still fighting its wartime enemies.

"It is a desire to show a certain parity that doesn't exist and to blur the lines between aggressors and those who stood in defense of one country. They will not be successful in this," she said.

Emina Ganic says the longer the court process goes on, the more damaging it is to relations between Bosnia and Serbia and Bosnia and the United Kingdom. There are two court proceedings next week. On Tuesday, both sides will begin to lay out their cases for and against extradition. On Thursday, Ganic's lawyers will again try to get him freed on bail.