Russia hands over war crimes accused

Russia has handed over to Bosnia Dragan Zelenovic, a Bosnian Serb wanted by the United Nations war crimes tribunal for rape and torture.

    Carla del Ponte accused Russia of being slow to move

    Russia transferred Zelenovic to the Bosnian authorities on Thursday after Carla del Ponte, the UN war crimes tribunal's chief prosecutor, accused Moscow of dragging its feet over the case.
    On Friday, the Bosnian war crimes court said in a statement: "Dragan Zelenovic will appear before the judge for preliminary proceedings ... at 11.30am (0930 GMT)."

    Zelenovic, a former policeman, is wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague for atrocities committed against Bosnian Muslims in the eastern Foca region during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

    Del Ponte told the UN Security Council on Wednesday: "The long and unexplained delays in the transfer of Zelenovic ... do not allow for optimism in the future of the ICTY's co-operation with the Russian Federation."

    Medzida Kreso, the court's president, told the Dnevni Avaz daily on Friday that the court would detain Zelenovic for 30 days.

    Kreso said: "In that period, Zelenovic should be handed over to the Hague tribunal, unless it decides to hand over the case to Bosnia's judicial institutions."

    Bosnia's war crimes chamber was established in 2005 to alleviate some of the workload of the Hague tribunal. It will increasingly take over low- and mid-level cases as the Hague court winds down by 2010.

    Zelenovic was arrested last August in the Khanti-Mansiisk autonomous district of western Siberia where Russian media said he had been working on construction sites under an assumed name.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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