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Britain Moves on Ganic Case
Serbia’s request to extradite former Bosnian wartime presidency member Ejup Ganic was officially certified by British officials this week and will now move forward in the courts.
Stephen Gentle, a solicitor representing Ganic, told IWPR that the April 12 decision by the Home Office was “disappointing”, but he was “confident that ultimately the extradition request will be defeated in court”. The next court date in the case is April 20.
IWPR reported at the time of Ganic’s arrest in March the prospect of competing extradition requests because Bosnia also wanted Ganic. However, reports this week said such a request was never actually sent to London even though the Bosnian prosecutor’s office wanted to try him.
Gentle said the April 20 hearing will be spent determining when to schedule the formal extradition hearing, as well as an abuse of process hearing that has been requested by the defence.
They intend to argue that Serbia’s extradition request was not made in good faith, Gentle said.
Gentle added that the timeline of the proceedings is still unclear. It could be, he said, that the abuse of process hearing will take place within the next four to six weeks, or alternatively it may happen at a later date and be held immediately before the extradition hearing.
Serbia is seeking to extradite Ganic to stand trial for charges related to a May 1992 episode in Sarajevo, known as the Dobrovoljacka (Volunteer’s Street) incident. At the time, Ganic was a member of the Bosnian presidency, effectively serving as a deputy to then president Alija Izetbegovic.
A day before the incident, on May 2, 1992, Izetbegovic was kidnapped by the Yugoslav army, JNA, at Sarajevo airport when he returned from peace negotiations in Lisbon.
On May 3, a deal was done in which Izetbegovic would be released and a JNA column would be allowed out of the besieged city by the Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) but subsequently the column was fired upon.
Belgrade says 42 soldiers were killed, and blames Ganic, who was effectively in charge while Izetbegovic was being detained.
Ganic, now president of Sarajevo’s School of Science and Technology, was arrested at Heathrow Airport on March 1 after attending a degree ceremony at the University of Buckingham, with which his school has links.
He was released on bail on March 11 under several conditions, including a nightly curfew and a daily report at a police station.
Rachel Irwin is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.
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