Norway extraditing Vukovar war crimes suspect Sireta to the wrong country

Norway extraditing Vukovar war crimes suspect Sireta to the wrong country

Ranko Helebrant [Deputy Executive Director, Croation Helsinki Committee for Human Rights]: "Damir Sireta (43), a citizen of Croatia, is waiting to be transferred to Serbia in the near future, according to the decision of extradition made by the Kingdom of Norway. Although both Croatia and Serbia asked for extradition, the final decision was made in favor of Serbia. The official explanation was that Serbia accused Damir Sireta of the killing of 200 people in Vukovar in November 1991, while in the Croatian request he was accused just for killing one person. Sireta was accused and sentenced to 12 years in an earlier judgment of a court in Vukovar.

The opinion of the CHC is that the decision of Norway is questionable because the war crimes that Damir Sireta is accused for were committed in Vukovar, Croatia. Having in mind that both countries requested his extradition, we feel that the territorial principle should be stronger than the level of accusation. The fact that so far Croatia accused Damir Sireta only for one murder doesn't mean that the prosecutor's office in Vukovar couldn't broaden their indictment. In that respect we also point out the responsibility of Croatian institutions which haven't done that before submitting the request to Norway.

In the present situation we hope that court proceedings in Belgrade will be fair and impartial, giving compensation to the victims of that horrible crime. It would be very important that some of the representatives of the Croatian state and civil society organizations monitor the whole proceedings, and report about it to the Croatian public."

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