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Lukic Still Opposes Transfer to Bosnia

Defendant says he will not leave The Hague “alive”.
By Lisa Clifford
Bosnian Serb paramilitary leader Milan Lukic this week told the Hague tribunal that he fears for his life if his case is transferred to a Bosnian court.

Judges have ordered that the case against Lukic – and his cousin Sredoje Lukic with whom he is being tried – be transferred to Bosnia’s war crimes chamber in Sarajevo.

Milan Lukic has appealed that decision, and in court on June 11 claimed his life and the lives of his family and witnesses would be in danger if the case is heard in Bosnia. He then said he “will not leave here [The Hague] alive”.

The case has been transferred under a policy which allows for lower- and mid-ranking accused to be dealt with by local courts in the Balkans.

Lukic was indicted in 1998 and arrested in Buenos Aires in 2005 following a joint operation between the Argentinean police and Interpol. He told the court this week that the court in Argentina agreed to his extradition only if he was not sent on to a third country.

He then questioned whether he would get a fair trial in Bosnia, suggesting this was unfair to victims and their families who want to know the truth.

Lukic, the leader of the notorious White Eagles paramilitary unit, is accused of instigating a terror campaign against the Muslim residents of Visegrad during the early stages of the Bosnian war.

The 21-count indictment includes 12 counts of crimes against humanity and nine of violations of the laws and customs of war between 1992 and 1994.

Lisa Clifford is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.

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