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Swiss extradite Serb nurse accused of war crimes

Zorana Banic was condemned in absentia to 20 years in prison by a Croatian court Keystone

Switzerland has extradited to Croatia a female Serb nurse who had been sentenced for war crimes in absentia.

This content was published on November 16, 2001 - 17:43

Zorana Banic, 49, landed at Zagreb airport on a regular flight from Zurich on Friday, after she was taken into custody by Swiss police acting on an international warrant two weeks ago.

Banic was found guilty in 1998 and sentenced to 20 years in prison, the maximum sentence for such crimes in Croatia, for taking part in the slaughter of 43 Croat civilians in the village of Skabrnja 10 years ago.

The incident happened when Serb rebels, who opposed Croatia's independence, raided the Croat village near the Adriatic city of Zadar during the 1991-95 Balkan war. The victims were mostly women and the elderly.

War crimes

Banic will be taken to Zadar, where she will be placed in custody pending investigations and arraignment before a local judge. She is among only a handful of women who have been charged with war crimes in the former Yugoslavia.

Banic is entitled to a re-trial and Croatian authorities agreed to reopen her case before Switzerland approved her extradition.

Croatia tried more than a dozen Serbs, including Banic and another woman, for the atrocity. All but one were tried in absentia, having fled Croatia when government troops ended their rebellion and recaptured their territory in 1995.

swissinfo with agencies

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