Accessibility links

Former Bosnian President Under Arrest in Britain


Former Bosnian-leader Ejup Ganic remains behind bars in a South London jail after being arrested on suspicion of war crimes.

Lawyers for Ejup Ganic will try again Friday to get him released on bail from a South London prison. The former Bosnian leader was arrested Monday at Heathrow airport in connection with the 1992 killings of Yugoslav troops in Sarajevo, at the beginning of the Bosnian war.

He was arrested after the Republic of Serbia made an extradition request.

Mr. Ganic's lawyer, Stephen Gentle, is confident the British court will release his client.

"Fundamentally the request itself is flawed, the request is misconceived and apart from that we would say Dr. Ganic's character is such that he is not someone who would flee the jurisdiction, particularly when faced with such a weak case," Gentle said.

Bosnian-government legal advisor, Damir Arnault, met Thursday with the former president in jail. He says the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague investigated the alleged 1992 atrocity and ruled in 2003 that no crime had occurred.

Mr. Ganic's daughter, Emina Ganic, says Serbia came to the same conclusion.

"The Republic of Serbia has run its own investigation and the conclusions of both of these things is not only that there is insufficient evidence to show that my father is guilty of any possible crime, but there is also insufficient evidence to show that any crime has occurred," Mr. Ganic said.

She says the reasons for Serbia's extradition request are purely political.

"This is a way of distracting attention from their failure to comply with their international obligations, it is a way of distracting attention from the Karadzic trial, and most importantly perhaps, it is a way to try once again to blur the lines in the international and domestic public opinion between those who were the aggressors and those who stood in defense of one country," Mr. Ganic said.

But Serbia's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Dejan Popovic, says there is no political motivation behind the extradition request.

"What I am hoping for is that justice should be done, I think that this is the most important message, all war crimes should be prosecuted and guilt should be individualized," Popovic said. "The only way for getting forward in the Western Balkans is to have the guilt individualized and just to have all those involved in this process, regardless of whether they belong to Bosniak, Serbian or Croatian side, to have them brought to justice."

Friday's court appearance will decide whether Ganic is released on bail. Next week the British court will look at the request for extradition to Serbia.

XS
SM
MD
LG