Former commander of Srebrenica in detention pending extradition

Keywords: Extradition

Press Release, FOJ, 11.06.2015

Berne. Former commander of the Bosnian Muslim forces in the Srebrenica region, Naser Orić, was arrested yesterday, Wednesday, in Thonex, Canton Geneva, on the orders of the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ). He is being held in detention pending extradition. Orić is wanted by the Serbian authorities in connection with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The FOJ's arrest warrant is based on an arrest request submitted by the Serbian authorities on 3 February 2014. The Serbian authorities suspect that, between 1992 and 1995, Orić and other members of the Bosnian Muslim forces repeatedly attacked Serbian villages in the Srebrenica region, to drive out the civilian Serbian population with a campaign of intimidation, torture and murder. The arrest request specifically mentions the attack on Zalazje, in which nine people were murdered on 12 July 1992.

Orić contesting extradition

Orić was today granted a hearing on the Serbian arrest request before the Public Prosecutor's Office of Canton Geneva, representing the FOJ. He stated at the hearing that he will contest his extradition. The FOJ will therefore ask the Serbian authorities to submit a formal extradition request within the 18-day period laid down in the European Convention on Extradition.

According to publicly accessible sources, in 2006 the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found Naser Orić guilty of failing to fulfil his duty as a superior officer and preventing the murder and mistreatment of Serbian prisoners in Srebrenica. The Tribunal sentenced him to two years' imprisonment. In 2008, the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY acquitted Orić of all charges on the grounds of insufficient evidence. The FOJ will now investigate whether, a priori, extradition is permitted. In particular, it will examine whether or not the case presented in the arrest request differs in any way from that on which the International Criminal Tribunal previously ruled.

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