Naser Oric Will Be Extradited to Bosnia

Naser OricFormer Bosnian army commander Naser Oric will be extradited to Bosnia and Herzegovina following an order from the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) on Thursday.

“Oric stated at the hearing on this request that he agreed to be extradited to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This permitted the FOJ to approve the extradition immediately in simplified proceedings,” the FOJ said in a statement.

Oric’s extradition was initially requested by Serbia, who had issued a warrant for his arrest last year accusing him of the murder of 9 Serb civilians in Srebrenica in July 1992. Swiss authorities arrested Oric on the 10th of June on this Serbian warrant, but on Monday, the Prosecutors Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina called on Switzerland not to extradite Oric, a Bosnian citizen, to Serbia. The Bosnian authorities urged Switzerland to return Oric to them instead.

According to the FOJ, “The decisive points here are the same criminal acts on which both requests are based were committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that Oric is a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

During the 1992-1995 war, Naser Oric was the commander of Muslim Bosniak forces in the Srebrenica region of Bosnia. The region fell to Bosnian Serbs in July 1995 and 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Serb forces. Continue reading

Croatia Demands Extradition of General Martic

Milan Martic

Milan Martic (right) with General Radovan Karadzic (left) in 1994 (c) BBC News

On Monday, a court in Zagreb, Croatia, issued a European Arrest Warrant demanding the extradition of Serbian General Milan “Mile” Martic to stand trial in Croatia for shelling the towns of Karlovac and Jastebarsko near Zagreb in May 1995. During the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, Martic was interior minister, defence minister and president of the self-proclaimed Autonomous Region of Krajina located in the south of Croatia near the Bosnian border.

Martic is currently in Estonia serving a 35-year sentence of imprisonment for war crimes committed against non-Serbs in Croatia for which he was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in 2007. The ICTY concluded that Martic’s activities resulted in the expulsion of all Croatians and non-Serbs from the areas which were under his control.

Croatia had originally indicted Martic for war crimes in 2003 alongside Serbian military leader Milan Celeketic. However, authorities did not decide to proceed with the case against Martic until 2010 when it became clear that the ICTY would not prosecute Martic for the shelling of the towns.

Estonian authorities have requested time to consider the possibility of handing over Martic. Croatian authorities have indicated that the trial will go ahead regardless of the decision of

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the Estonian authorities.

Court begins Jury selection for Abu Hamza Terrorism Trial

New York court begins today jury selection in the trial of Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, known as Abu Hamza al-Masri. Abu Hamza is facing 11 terrorism charges, including providing support to al-Qaeda and trying to set up an al-Qaeda training camp in Oregon.

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Islamic cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri Photo: EPA

Facts of the case date back to the late 1990s, when Abu Hamza allegedly conspired to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, to arrange for others to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan, and to ensure there was satellite phone service for hostage takers in Yemen in 1998 who abducted two American tourists and 14 others. Three Britons and an Australian were killed then as the Yemeni military attempted to rescue the hostages.

At a pre-trial hearing last week, Abu Hamza declared that the will testify on his own behalf, telling US district judge Katherine Forrest “I think I am innocent. I need to go through it, have a chance to defend myself.” Prosecution evidence mainly include media interviews and recordings of Abu Hamza’s weekly speeches at Finsbury Park mosque (London).

Abu Hamza was first arrested in the United Kingdom in 2004 where he was found guilty of 11 charges, including encouraging the murder of non-Muslims, and intent to stir up racial hatred. Abu Hamza was sentenced to seven years in prison.

The same year of his conviction, the United States requested Abu Hamza’s extradition. Following a legal battle, the European Court of Human Rights finally authorized extradition after it was given assurances by the United States that Abu Hamza would neither be designated as enemy combatant (with the consequences that that entailed, such as the death penalty) nor subjected to extraordinary rendition. Abu Hamza was extradited on 6 October 2012. He appeared before the New York court on 9 October and pleaded not guilty to the 11 charges.