France court rules to extradite suspect in Bosnian war crimes case

France court rules to extradite suspect in Bosnian war crimes case

[JURIST] A French court on Wednesday ruled to extradite Radomir Susnjar, who is suspected to have committed war crimes during Balkan conflict of the 1990s, to Sarajevo where he will face charges concerning his involvement. Susnjar, who was arrested in France [press release, in Croatian] in 2014, allegedly locked innocent civilians in a house and set it on fire. The French court, however, could only extradite [RFI report] Susnjar under common law and international principles because the actions of Susjnar were not punishable under French law at the time of their commission and France has a non-retroactivity principle. However, the actions were punishable under International and European law, which prosecutors argued meant that the non-retroactivity law did not apply to crimes against humanity, a rationale the court accepted. Susnjar’s lawyer, Oliver Morice, believes that the court gave into pressure and indicated that he is willing to take the case to France’s top court.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [JURIST backgrounder] and the Balkan States continue to prosecute those accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity that left more than 100,000 people dead and millions displaced during the conflict. Last month the ICTY acquitted [JURIST report] Vojislav Šešelj, president of the Serbian Radical Party and former Assembly member of Serbia, of all crimes against humanity and war crimes in connection with the Balkan war. In May 2015 the ICTY ordered [JURIST report] Serbia’s justice ministry to return Šešelj to his detention cell immediately after he was released in February [JURIST op-ed] to return to Serbia for cancer treatment. The ICTY had revoked his provisional release [JURIST report] in March because Šešelj spoke at a news conference in Belgrade and stated [WSJ report] that he would not return voluntarily to The Hague.