Croatia seeks extradition of war crimes suspect from France

9th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Croatia asked France to extradite a former Serb paramilitary wanted here for war crimes against civilians at the start of the 1990s conflict, the justice ministry said on Wednesday.

"Documents needed for extradition of Milorad Momic were prepared and forwarded to the French authorities," the ministry spokeswoman Vesna Dovranic told AFP.

Momic, 47, was charged by a court in the eastern town of Vukovar with the murder of one Croat civilian and the physical intimidation of others, a court spokesman said.

The crimes were committed in September 1991, in the village of Berak, near Vukovar, the spokesman told AFP, adding that at the time Momic was a Croatian national.

Croatia's proclamation of independence from the former Yugoslavia sparked the four-year war with rebel Serbs who opposed the move.

Momic was a member of a notorious Serbian paramilitary unit, known as Scorpions, that took part in the 1990s wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.

Serbia, which has also asked for Momic's extradition from France, suspects him of having taking part in the 1995 massacre of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.

Momic has lived in France under a false identity. He was arrested near the French Alpine town of Grenoble in late January on an international warrant issued by Serbia for crimes against humanity.

Four other Scorpion members were given sentences of up to 20 years by a Serbian court in 2007 after a video emerged of them shooting captured Muslims at Srebrenica.

Another one was jailed by a Croatian court in 2005 for 15 years over the Srebrenica killings and torturing of Croat prisoners of war.

The massacre of some 8,000 Muslim males by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica was the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

© 2011 AFP

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