Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Croatian Serb extradition; more Scorpions arrested; Bosnian Serbs detained in US; Bosnian foreign minister visits Hague.

By IWPR staff in The Hague (TU No 501, 11-May-07)
By IWPR
A court in Greece has ordered the extradition of a Croatian Serb accused of war crimes, according to media reports.



The Croatian news agency Hina said that the court ordered 47-year-old Ernest Radjen to be sent to Croatia to face allegations that he was involved in killings in the village of Skabrnja near Zadar in November 1991.



Radjen, the assistant coach at a Greek first division basketball team, was arrested in September but released following delays with his extradition. Originally from Benkovac, he has worked for several years in Greece.



At the time of the incident, Radjen allegedly commanded a military police unit that took part in the execution of nearly 50 Croatian civilians. According to Hina, the Zadar County Court launched their investigation into accusations that he had committed war crimes in Skabrnja in 2001.



He denies the charges.



***



Serbian police have detained eight former members of the Scorpions paramilitary group in connection with an attack on a well-known Serb journalist last month, Serbian Television B92 reported this week.



Dejan Anastasijevic escaped injury when a grenade exploded on the windowsill of his Belgrade flat overnight on April 13. Police also found an unexploded grenade nearby.



Anastasijevic, who writes for the weekly Vreme, had often spoken openly about the atrocities committed by Serb forces in the wars following the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. He was also a witness at the trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.



He recently criticised Serbia's war crimes court for its verdict in the case of five Serb members of the Scorpions, who were filmed on tape as they shot dead six Bosnian Muslims captured after the fall off Srebrenica in 1995.



Anastasijevic believes the attack was related to his public statements that the sentences were inadequate and his disappointment about the wording of the judgment.



Police said this week they were continuing to question the eight men.



***



A man arrested during a sweep by US authorities of alleged members of the notorious Zvornik Brigade of the Bosnian Serb army now living in America was this week found not guilty of lying on immigration forms.



Despite the decision of jurors in Greensboro, North Carolina, Milivoje Jankovic – who came to the US as a refugee – remains in federal custody and now faces a deportation hearing.



Jankovic’s trial is the third in recent weeks of Bosnian Serbs accused of being part of the Bosnian Serb military unit, which was responsible for the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995.



Veselin Vidacak was found guilty of lying on immigration forms and faces a prison sentence and deportation.



Ugljesa Pantic went on trial this week.



The government says the three lied about their service in the Zvornik Brigade. Jankovic and Vidacak deny they were soldiers, claiming their role was to simply stand watch and warn of any approaching Muslim forces.



They were arrested by the Department of Homeland Security along with more than 20 other Bosnian Serbs last December.



***



Bosnia’s foreign minister Sven Alkalaj visited the Hague tribunal this week and met the court’s president Fausto Pocar.



Pocar underlined his position that any UN Security Council decision on the closure of the tribunal should leave in place residual judicial mechanisms to ensure that any remaining fugitives are tried in The Hague.



Pocar also stressed the satisfactory cooperation between the tribunal and Bosnia’s war crimes court and stated that the international community should continue supporting this institution and its work. The tribunal has to date transferred nine accused to the Bosnian court for trial.

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