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Former Bosnian leader in court on extradition request

By the CNN Wire Staff
Ejup Ganic gets into a car after leaving Westminster Magistrates Court in London on April 13.
Ejup Ganic gets into a car after leaving Westminster Magistrates Court in London on April 13.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ejup Ganic arrested at Heathrow Airport in March after request from Serbia
  • He's wanted in Serbia for conspiracy to murder in breach of Geneva Conventions
  • Ganic vice president of Bosnia during the civil war there between 1992 and 1995
  • He was also twice president of the Bosnian-Croat Federation
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London, England (CNN) -- Lawyers for former Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic plan to dispute the Serbian extradition request that got him arrested last month in London, a member of his legal team said Tuesday.

Ganic was in court Tuesday, a day after Home Secretary Alan Johnson certified Serbia's extradition request, Ganic's solicitor, Stephen Gentle, told CNN.

The parties are expected back in court April 20, when the court will set a date for the formal extradition hearing, he said. It is at that hearing that the defense will argue to have the request thrown out, claiming "abuse of process" because they say the request was not made in good faith, he said.

Ganic was arrested at Heathrow Airport in March on a bilateral provisional extradition request from Serbia, Britain's Foreign Office said at the time. He is wanted in Serbia for conspiracy to murder in breach of the Geneva Conventions, the Foreign Office said.

The former leader has been free on strict bail conditions for the past month.

"He's obviously disappointed that the extradition process is continuing, and he's saddened that the UK is allowing it to carry on," Gentle said. "He would say there's no substance to the allegations. He denies absolutely that he's been involved in any criminal conduct."

Ganic was the vice president of Bosnia during the civil war there between 1992 and 1995 and was twice president of the Bosnian-Croat Federation in the years following the Dayton peace agreement in 1995. Many independent commentators at the time regarded Ganic as a relative moderate in the war-time Bosnian leadership.

An engineer by profession, Ganic studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States. He would regularly brief journalists during the three-year civil war from his often-shelled office in the Bosnian presidency building in the heart of Sarajevo.

Ganic was visiting Britain to attend a graduation ceremony at the University of Buckingham, which partners with the private Sarajevo Institute of Technology, a school Ganic established.

"The allegations date from 1992," Gentle said Tuesday. "He's been traveling throughout the world since 1992. He is very clear that the extradition request is politically motivated. It is legally flawed and he has nothing to hide."

Though Bosnian, Ganic was born in Serbia and still speaks with a clearly recognizable Serbian accent. He holds dual nationality in both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

Bosnia and Serbia signed an agreement the day before Ganic's arrest on extraditions for war crimes committed during the war that would let Bosnians be tried in Bosnia and Serbs in Serbia.

Under the terms of his release, Ganic must live at a specified address and cannot apply for a passport or other travel documents, a spokeswoman for the High Court said.. He has a curfew requiring him to remain at the address between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. and also has a "doorstep condition," requiring him to be at the address when police request it, the spokeswoman said.

Ganic must also report daily to a London police station.

 
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