Israel arrests Bosnia genocide suspect

PressTV – Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:55PM

A file photo shows Bosnian forensic experts inspecting human remains in a mass grave believed to contain the remains of hundreds of Muslims killed in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995.
An Israeli citizen has been arrested upon an extradition request from Bosnia over his alleged involvement in the 1995 mass murder in Srebrenica.

Israel’s Justice Ministry said Aleksandar Cvetkovic, an immigrant from the former Yugoslavia, was arrested on Tuesday and that prosecutors would seek court approval to extradite him to Bosnia for trial on charges of genocide, the Jerusalem Post reported on its website.

In late August, Bosnian officials asked Israel to arrest and extradite Cvetkovic over his alleged involvement in Srebrenica killings at the peak of the 1992-95 civil war in former Yugoslavia.

A statement by the Bosnian state prosecutor’s office said Cvetkovic is suspected of having personally taken part in the execution of more than 800 Bosnian Muslim men and boys from the UN-protected Srebrenica.

According to the prosecutors’ extradition request, Cvetkovic had “initiated the use of an M-84 machine-gun in order to speed up the killings.”

A ministry official, however, predicted a lengthy process.

“If extradition is approved, we expect that he will wage exhaustive appeals,” he said.

According to the Israeli Justice Ministry, Cvetkovic moved to Israel in 2006 and his marriage to a Jewish woman, with whom he has children, helped him gain Israeli citizenship.

But the ministry made it clear that the now 42-year-old Bosnian Serb could not ask to serve any eventual prison time in Israel because the crimes he is accused of predate his immigration.

In July 1995, about 15,000 starving Bosnian Muslims were forced to escape on foot to the relatively safe Muslim-held territory of Srebrenica.

Although the United Nations had declared the enclave a “safe haven” two years earlier, Bosnian Serb forced slaughtered over 8,000 men and boys to ethnically cleanse Bosnian Muslims from the area.

In February 2007, the International Court of Justice judged that the atrocities committed at Srebrenica amounted to genocide.

MRS/PKH/AKM

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