Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 14:53 UK

Ex-Bosnian president Ejup Ganic accuses UK government

Ejup Ganic
Ejup Ganic is a former president of the Muslim-Croat Federation in Bosnia

A former Bosnian president facing extradition over war crime allegations has accused the British government of volunteering to "rewrite history".

Speaking outside an extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, Ejup Ganic said he was "not happy" with his treatment by the UK authorities.

Mr Ganic was detained at Heathrow on 1 March at the request of Serbia.

A Home Office spokeswoman said the "legal process" was valid under the Extradition Act 2003.

"The case is before the courts and it would be inappropriate to comment further," she added.

A judge at the court in London agreed on Tuesday that the process to extradite Mr Ganic to Serbia could go ahead.

Chief District Judge Timothy Workman adjourned the case for a hearing on 20 April.

Mr Ganic, 64, is accused of killing wounded Bosnian Serb soldiers in 1992 in the Balkan wars.

It appears the British government volunteers to do the police job for the Milosevic regime which is still more or less in some way very active
Ejup Ganic

The hearing, also attended by Serbian war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic, heard Mr Ganic is accused by Serbia of "grave breaches" of the Geneva Convention and "conspiracy to murder".

Ben Watson, on behalf of the Serbian government, said he was accused of "war crimes against the wounded and sick", "unlawful killing and wounding of the enemy" and "use of forbidden means of combat".

He is also alleged to have "personally ordered" attacks on a military hospital and a column of medical vehicles.

But John Jones, defending, told the court the extradition request was "manifestly ill-founded" and "politically motivated".

He said Serbia was "using the extradition process to wage war by other means".

Mr Jones also asked for a hearing to investigate abuse of process, saying Mr Ganic had "suffered a terrible ordeal."

Indictment

Speaking outside the court Mr Ganic, who was granted bail on "stringent" conditions in March, said he was not happy with the UK government's decision to "initiate this process".

He said: "It appears the British government volunteers to do the police job for the Milosevic regime which is still more or less in some way very active.

"The British government also volunteered to help Serbs to rewrite the chapter of Srebrenica and other places where genocide has been committed."

He added: "Maybe it's time to remind you that I spent almost four years in the surrounded Sarajevo, the city that was under a siege never recorded in history before.

"Genocide happened in Bosnia. The Serbs committed a genocide.

"Imagine those people who were fighting for London when the Germans were bombing London, imagine Nazis now prosecuting those British who were trying to defend Great Britain against Nazi Germany."

Mr Ganic, a friend of Baroness Thatcher, was a wartime leader who briefly acted as president.

He was indicted last year by a Belgrade court, along with 18 others, over an incident in which 42 soldiers from the Yugoslav army were said to have been killed.

It is alleged to have happened at the start of the conflict, after Bosnia had declared independence from the Serb-led former Yugoslavia.

Serbia says the Yugoslav convoy, accompanied by UN peacekeepers, was attacked during a retreat from a Bosnian Muslim area of Sarajevo, in violation of a safe passage pact.

Nightly curfew

Clare Montgomery QC, for Mr Ganic, says the allegations have already been rejected by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

After his arrest, thousands of Bosnians protested outside the British and Serbian embassies in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, demanding his release.

At the time, a Foreign Office spokesman said the arrest "in no way amounts to a diplomatic or political statement by the British government or any UK point of view on past events in the Western Balkans".

Mr Granic was granted bail by the High Court on March 11 after 10 days in custody at Wandsworth Prison.

His bail conditions included staying at an undisclosed London address, observing a nightly curfew and not applying for a passport or travel document.



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