A UK court on Tuesday blocked the extradition of former Bosnian president Ejup Ganic [Trial Watch profile] to Serbia to stand trial for alleged war crimes. Ganic, who served as vice president during the outset of the 1992-1995 Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive], is accused of ordering attacks in Sarajevo in violation of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War [text]. A City of Westminster Magistrates' Court [official website] judge blocked the bid, saying that the extradition request was politically motivated [AFP report] and an abuse of the processes of the court. The Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor's Office [official website] announced shortly after the decision that it will appeal [BBC report]. Ganic argues that it would be impossible for him to receive a fair trial in Serbia.
The extradition hearing took place earlier this month following Ganic's arrest by British police [JURIST reports] at Heathrow Airport in March pursuant to a Serbian provisional extradition warrant. Ganic is the highest ranking official among 19 for whom Serbia has issued an arrest warrant in connection with the Dobrovoljacka Street incident at the onset of the Bosnian conflict. Bosnian authorities dismiss Serbian claims surrounding the incident on the grounds that they were defending their own territory and that Serbia is undermining procedures in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive].