Swiss approve extradition of Naser Orić to Bosnia

Bosnian authorities said they were initially surprised about the arrest of Naser Orić Keystone

Switzerland is to extradite Naser Orić, a former Bosnian military commander, to Bosnia after arresting him in Geneva on June 10. He is wanted by the Serbian authorities on the grounds of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

This content was published on June 25, 2016 - 00:00 and agencies

Orić was placed in detention in Switzerland pending extradition, based on an international arrest warrant from Serbia. He contested his arrest, meaning that the Serbian authorities had to place a formal request for his extradition, which was received by Switzerland on June 22.

In the meantime, Bosnia and Herzegovina also requested that Orić be extradited. They wanted to “resume ongoing criminal proceedings against him for war crimes”, the Swiss justice ministry said on Thursday in a statement.

Orić agreed to be extradited to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This, the Swiss authorities added, “permitted the FOJ [justice ministry] to approve the extradition immediately in simplified proceedings”.

The ministry added that under European laws on extradition, priority was to be given to the Bosnian request. This is not only because Orić is a Bosnia and Herzegovina citizen, but also because the criminal acts which the requests are based upon took place in the country.

Srebrenica, where the crimes allegedly took place, was overrun by Bosnian Serbian forces in 1995, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 8,000 people whose bodies were dumped in a mass grave.

In 2006, Oric was sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to two years behind bars for not doing enough to prevent crimes committed against Serbs during the Balkan conflict. But he was acquitted of all charges two years later.

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