Former War Commander Extradited to Bosnia

Naser_OricOn Friday 26 June 2015, the Swiss government extradited the former Bosniak military commander, Naser Orić, to Bosnia and Herzegovina for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to a statement issued by the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ). The press release is here.

 

Background

On 2 February 2014, a Red Notice was issued by INTERPOL, at the request of the National Central Bureau for Serbia, for the arrest of Mr Orić. He is accused of causing the deaths of nine ethnic Serbs in the Srebrenica region of Bosnia in July 1992, an area he defended against separatist Serb forces during the 1992-95 Bosnian War. Mr Oric has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Orić was arrested in Geneva on 10 June 2015, and placed in detention pending extradition. At an initial hearing, Mr Orić stated that he would contest extradition to Serbia. Accordingly, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice asked the Serbian Ministry of Justice to submit a formal extradition request, which was received on 22 June 2015.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina requested Mr Orić’s extradition, to resume criminal proceedings against him for war crimes against the civil population. At a hearing on Thursday 25 June 2015, Mr Orić consented to extradition to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This enabled the FOJ to approve extradition in simplified proceedings.

Applying Article 17 of the European Convention on Extradition, the FOJ gave priority to the Bosnian request. This states, inter alia¸ that where extradition is requested concurrently by more than one State, the requested party should have regard to the place of commission of the offence and the nationality of the person claimed. The alleged criminal acts underlying both requests for Mr Orić were committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Mr Orić is a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

2006 ICTY Judgment

In 2006, the ICTY sentenced Mr Orić to two years’ imprisonment, for failing to take steps to prevent the murder and mistreatment of Bosnian Serb detainees between late 1992 and early 1993. This decision was reversed in 2008 by the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY. The Court acquitted Mr Orić of all charges, on the grounds of insufficient evidence. The judgment is here.

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