New evidence against Bosnian ex-leader in Britain: lawyer

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Serbia has offered new evidence to support its request for ex-Bosnian leader Ejup Ganic to be extradited from Britain on warcrimes allegations, a lawyer said Thursday, as Ganic restated his innocence.

Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Ben Watson, acting for Serbia, told a court in London that the 200-page submission included evidence not considered in previous investigations into Ganic's role in the bloody war in Bosnia.

The former president, who attended the hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court but was not called, is accused by Serbia of involvement in the alleged killing of 18 soldiers in a Yugoslav army convoy in 1992.

Ganic, who claims the allegations against him are politically motivated, told AFP afterwards he was hopeful of success in his appeal against extradition, saying: "I'm an innocent man. I hope the court is neutral."

In addition to the 200-page submission, Watson said he would show two videos including footage of the convoy and call two members of the Serbian prosecution office and a man who was part of the convoy at the next hearing on July 5.

Defence lawyer Edward Fitzgerald condemned the presentation of new evidence so late in the legal proceedings, more than three months after Ganic was arrested at London Heathrow airport and subsequently bailed.

And he argued the videos were "racist propaganda videos made by the Serbian government" and demanded identification of the so-far unnamed witnesses.

But Watson insisted the convoy member would "set the scene for the court" while "the video isn't relied upon for its racist propaganda... it's relied upon for its contemporaneous account".

© 2010 AFP

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