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Last Updated: Friday, 3 February 2006, 15:55 GMT
Court frees Bosnian Serb suspect
Italian soldier near Rogatica
Eufor says the wife and son shot at troops surrounding the house
A Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect whose wife died in a shootout with European Union peacekeepers has been released from custody on a legal technicality.

Dragomir Abazovic, wanted for crimes against Muslims in the 1992-1995 war, was arrested in an operation by Eufor and local forces in January.

His wife died, his 11-year-old son was wounded and Mr Abazovic was injured after shooting himself in the head.

But Bosnia's war crimes court says the arrest was based on an old warrant.

The arrest order had been issued before the state war crimes court was set up in 2005 and was therefore invalid, the court said.

Mr Abazovic left the hospital in Sarajevo, where he had been treated under police guard, on Friday.

It was unclear whether a new attempt would be made to arrest him, but he is expected to have to undergo psychiatric examination before further questioning or a trial.

The arrest took place on 5 January in the eastern Bosnian village of Kozici, near Rogatica.

Eufor said Mr Abazovic's injury happened when he turned the gun on himself as his wife and son fired an assault rifle at troops surrounding the house.

'Black mark'

Mr Abazovic's son, who was shot in the stomach by the troops, denied the peacekeepers' version of events.

The death of the boy's mother Rada, 46, prompted protests from Bosnian Serb leader Dragan Cavic, who said it was a "black mark for Eufor".

Mr Abazovic is wanted by Bosnia-Hercegovina's war crimes court for offences he is alleged to have committed in the 1990s around Rogatica.

He is not on the list of suspects wanted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

The 6,300-strong Eufor took over peacekeeping in Bosnia from a Nato force in 2004 and has been involved in searching for war crimes suspects and combating organised crime.

Bosnia suspect's wife shot dead
05 Jan 06 |  Europe
Bosnian Serb suspect surrenders
13 Sep 05 |  Europe

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