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Dutch police arrest Balkans war crimes suspect

The Dutch public prosecutor announced on Friday that police have arrested a man suspected of war crimes during the 1990s Yugoslav wars [JURIST news archive] after a request for his extradition from Croatia. Milutin Graic, 41, was living in Roosendaal, near the Netherlands' border with Belgium. Graic is accused [Reuters report] of being a member of a militia that ethnically cleansed Croats by deporting them from the statelet of Serbian Krajina in the early 1990s. According to prosecutors, a Croatian court had issued a European arrest warrant for Graic. His extradition to Croatia is expected to follow soon.

Investigations of war crimes related to the Bosnian-Serbian conflict are still ongoing and suspects are still being arrested and prosecuted. Earlier this month, Croatia, at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website], accused Serbia of genocide [JURIST report] in the 1990s. In January the appeals chamber for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] upheld [JURIST report] the criminal convictions of four Serbian senior officials stemming from the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive]. Last September the ICTY allowed Momcilo Krajisnik [JURIST news archive], the former speaker for the Bosnian Serb parliament, to return to Bosnia after being released from prison [JURIST report]. In August Danish judge Frederik Harhoff was removed [JURIST report] from the ICTY over claims of bias in a letter he wrote criticizing the court. The ICTY was created [text, PDF] in 1993 by UN Resolution 827 to adjudicate the alleged war crimes perpetrated in the region of the former Yugoslavia since 1991. The ICTY's term of prosecution has been extended until December 2014. Since its inception, the ICTY has convicted numerous war criminals for atrocities committed in the widespread violence of the Balkan region. The tribunal has been working through an immense caseload for the past 20 years and has recently delegated much of the war crime adjudication to the courts of individual Balkan nations.

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