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Bosnia court refuses to extradite former Croatia lawmaker convicted of war crimes

[JURIST] A Bosnian state court on Tuesday refused to extradite [press release] former Croatian parliament deputy Branimir Glavas [Trial Watch backgrounder; JURIST news archive] to Croatia to serve a sentence for war crimes. Glavas, who holds dual Bosnian and Croatian citizenship, fled to Bosnia to avoid serving his sentence for killing Serbs during the Croatian conflict [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] from 1991-1994. Glavas was convicted [JURIST report] in May in the Zagreb County court [official website, in Croatian] and sentenced to 10 years in prison for ordering the torture and death of Croatian Serbs in the town of Osijek in 1991, a charge he denied. Shortly after fleeing Croatia in an effort to avoid the sentence, Glavas was arrested on an Interpol warrant [BIRN report] in Bosnia. Bosnia and Herzegovnia is not a party to any international extradition agreement [Reuters report], and, since Glavas is a Bosnian citizen, the court did not find it within its jurisdiction to release him.

In January 2008, Glavas was stripped of his parliamentary immunity [JURIST report] so that lawyers could proceed with his prosecution in Croatia. Glavas is a former prominent member of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union [party website], and was re-elected [JURIST report] to office under the new parliament during the Croatia's November 2007 elections. Glavas has maintained his innocence and even staged a 40-day hunger strike in 2006 when he was detained [JURIST report] after the criminal investigation against him initially opened. He also faces another war crimes investigation in Zagreb for the murder of two Serbs in a separate incident in Osijek.

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