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Montenegrin war crimes suspect arrested in Spain

[JURIST] Spain's Interior Ministry [official website, in Spanish] announced [press release, in Spanish] Tuesday that national police agents have arrested accused Montenegrin war criminal Veselin Vlahovic in southeastern Spain. Vlahovic, known as the "monster of Grbavica," is wanted on three international arrest warrants, including one for the rape, torture, and murder of more than 100 women and children during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war [JURST news archive]. The police captured [BBC report] Vlahovic after he was accused of several burglaries near his home in Altea. Vlahovic is wanted for a series of additional violent crimes. In 1998, he was imprisoned in Montenegro for armed robbery, but escaped on June 18, 2001. Three days later, he shot a man outside a bar in Serbia and was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in abstensia. He is also wanted in Spain for armed robbery. Bosnia's Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic [official website] is requesting that Spain extradite [Reuters report] Vlahovic to Bosnia where he is wanted on charges of genocide. Official documents will be drawn up by Bosnian officials on Wednesday and delivered to Spanish authorities within the same day. Spanish officials stated that Vlahovic would first stand before a local judge for the burglary allegations and would then be taken to the National Court [official website, in Spanish] in Madrid where extradition procedures are handled.

Vlahovic's arrest comes as former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic [case materials; JURIST news archive], stands trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] for alleged war crimes and genocide during the Bosnian War. Karadzic appeared [JURIST report] before the ICTY for the second consecutive day on Tuesday to continue opening statements. In his statement, Karadzic referred to a "holy war" against Bosnian Muslims and accused Bosnians of framing him by planting corpses and embellishing reports about fatalities [Telegraph report]. Karadzic had announced that he planned to boycott [JURIST report] his trial because he had not been given adequate time to prepare a defense. The ICTY has also repeatedly rejected [JURIST report] Karadzic's argument that he should be immune from trial based on an alleged agreement with former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke. Karadzic faces 11 charges [amended indictment, PDF], including genocide and murder, for war crimes allegedly committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. In June, the ICTY said that Karadzic's trial was expected to conclude in early 2012 [JURIST report]. His trial is planned to be the tribunal's last.

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