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The Government of the Republic of Serbia v. Ejup Ganić

This case summary is being revised and will be updated soon

Court City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Great Britain (UK)
Case number [2010] EW Misc 11 (MC)
Decision title Decision on extradition
Decision date 27 July 2010
  • The Government of the Republic of Serbia
  • Ejup Ganić
Categories War crimes
Keywords extradition, Former Yugoslavia, judicial cooperation, prohibited means of warfare, sick and wounded, unlawful killing, war crimes
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Procedural history

On 1 March 2010, Ganić was arrested in the UK concerning allegations of war crimes committed in Sarajevo in 1992. According to an arrest warrant issued by Serbia, Ganić bears responsibility for his alleged role in the ‘Sarajevo Column case’ in which 42 Bosnian Serb soldiers were attacked as they retreated from the city.

The Transcipt of the hearing before the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division (11 March 2010) can be found here.

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Legally relevant facts

Ejup Ganić was the former President of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1997 to 1999).

The charges against Ganić involved war crimes and grave violations of the Geneva Conventions, including attacks against sick and wounded persons, unlawful killing and use of prohibited weapons. Serbia sought Ganić’s extradition from the UK to face the charges.

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Court's holding and analysis

On 27 July 2010, Judge Timothy Workman sitting in the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court blocked Ganić’s extradition to Serbia. According to the Judge, the proceedings amounted to an abuse of process since the extradition was being sought for “political purposes” with “a motive for prosecuting that is based upon politics, race, or religion.”

Reviewing the allegations, Judge Workman dismissed claims that attacks allegedly ordered by Ganić on several targets were illegal. The Judge ruled that an officers’ club as well as a medical convey were legitimate targets, the latter because of the presence of army vehicles and military equipment. Whilst acknowledging that war crimes may have taken place, the Judge ruled that there was no evidence to indicate Ganić’s responsibility.

In his Judgment, Judge Workman “attach[ed] considerable weight to the fact that no prosecution was brought” in two previous investigations into the incident. In one of these investigations conducted in 2003, the Chief Prosecutor at the ICTY had reviewed the evidence and decided against pursuing the case.