Serbia has no new evidence against ex-Bosnian leader: lawyer

14th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Serbia has no substantial new evidence to justify the extradition from Britain of former Bosnian leader Ejup Ganic to face war crimes charges, his defence lawyer said on Wednesday.

Ganic's lawyer Edward Fitzgerald cross-examined a senior Serbian war crimes prosecutor on what is expected to be the final day of evidence in the two-week extradition hearing.

"What I have to put to you is that there were no striking new testimonies at all that you have obtained," Fitzgerald told City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London.

Milan Petrovic, the deputy prosecutor of the war crimes prosecution office in Serbia, replied curtly: "My belief as a prosecutor is completely different from yours."

Serbia claims Ganic helped mastermind attacks on a Yugoslav army officers' club, on ambulances sent to the scene and later on an army convoy, causing the deaths of 40 Yugoslav soldiers in 1992.

Ganic -- a Muslim member of Bosnia's collegial presidency during the 1992-95 war -- maintains he is innocent.

He accuses Serbia of a politically motivated pursuit of charges that have been dismissed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Fitzgerald asked Petrovic whether, when he applied to a Serbian judge to issue orders for the arrest and detention of Ganic in December 2008, he had read the ICTY conclusion that Ganic had no case to answer.

Petrovic, speaking through a court interpreter, replied: "No, there was no need."

He added: "Today there is reasonable evidence for the charges for the prosecution. The court will then decide on his guilt."

Ganic, 64, was arrested on a Serbian extradition warrant at London's Heathrow Airport in March.

The British judge hearing the extradition case is not expected to deliver his judgement for at least a week.

© 2010 AFP

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