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

Spanovic, Croatian/Serbian cooperation

By Staff Reporters in The Hague (TU No 476, 10-Nov-06)
By IWPR
Spanovic, 43, has been living in London for the last 15 years. The Zagreb authorities learnt of his whereabouts after he was arrested for shoplifting on June 13.



The crimes he was charged with included torturing and shooting at civilians and plundering and setting fire to civilian and religious facilities in the Glina area in 1991.



Croatia has asked for his extradition, but Spanovic claims that he is a refugee under British law and has repeatedly demanded asylum.



The next extradition hearing will be held on December 7 in London.



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Croatia and Serbia, bitter enemies during the Balkans wars of the 1990s, have formally agreed to cooperate in order to bring war criminals from either side of the conflict to justice.



Croatian prosecutor Mladen Bajic and his Serbian counterpart Vladimir Vukcevic have already been working together for two years to facilitate the arrest of suspects from each country.



But both countries have laws that prevent the transfer of their citizens to another country. And alleged war criminals can only be tried in the state that is bringing the charges. But new measures have been agreed that will overcome this problem.



Vukcevic said the agreement is a symbol of the trust that is slowly growing between the two nations.



And Bajic concurred, saying, “We will remove the barriers and borders for all who run from justice.”

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