A British court has agreed to release former Bosnian president Ejup Ganic on bail until he can appear in court next month. Ganic is wanted by Serbia for alleged war crimes during the war in Bosnia.
Two British judges decided to grant former Bosnian president Ejup Ganic bail because the prosecution, acting on behalf of the Serbian government, produced no new evidence to support the war-crimes charge.
"The Serbian authorities sent through a certain amount of material, a short letter explaining that there had been investigations since 2003, but obviously not giving any further information. And it seems that on that basis the court decided that there was really insufficient grounds at this stage to keep Dr. Ganic in custody," said Stephen Gentle, one of Ganic's lawyers.
The court imposed stringent conditions for release. Mr. Ganic must be at the London address he has given the court between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. and report to a local police station each morning. The court is holding his passport and the Bosnian government sent a letter saying it would not issue a new one. The court also has more than one-half-million dollars as a guarantee.
Outside the court, Mr. Ganic's daughter Emina was jubilant. "This, for us, is a great relief especially for us because we need him you see, he will be the most valuable member of the defense team as he is certainly a person with the greatest amount of knowledge of the events at Dobrovoljacka," she said.
The events in question involve an attack on Yugoslav forces withdrawing from Sarajevo in May, 1992 at the start of the Bosnian war. Serbia claims more than 40 soldiers were killed. In 2003, lawyers at the international criminal tribunal in the Hague concluded there was not sufficient evidence to charge Mr. Ganic or to determine that war crimes had even been committed.
Mr. Ganic's son Emir Ganic says his father is looking forward to answering the charges. "He is not someone who is going to run away from facing the court because he is innocent," he stated.
About a dozen demonstrators stood outside the court holding signs calling Ganic a war criminal.
Ganic's lawyers say Serbia's actions are purely political, aimed at deflecting attention from the trial of former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in the Hague.
Emina Ganic says what is happening to her father here in Britain reflects on her nation. "Make no doubt about it that our whole country is on trial here today and have no doubt it will win," Ganic said.
Mr. Ganic is to appear in court April 13 for Serbia to make its case for extradition.