Still no Karadžić extradition date

BELGRADE -- War Crimes Prosecution spokesman Bruno Vekarić today could not give a date for Radovan Karadžić's extradition to the Hague.

Entrance to the Special Court last night where Karadžić was interrogated (Tanjug)
Entrance to the Special Court last night where Karadžić was interrogated (Tanjug)

Vekarić address journalists one day after the arrest of the former Bosnian Serb leader, to say that the timeframe for the handing over will depend on the date of the defense's appeal, and the scheduling of a meeting for a court chamber to decide on the appeal.

The defense has three days to contest the extradition decision, while the chamber will have three additional days to produce its answer.

The final word in the matter rests with the Ministry of Justice.

Right after War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimit Vučković told a news conference in Belgrade that a decision to extradite Karadžić to the UN war crimes court, his lawyer announced the defense team would appeal.

Earlier, the investigative judge at Belgrade District Court’s War Crimes Chamber said that he had questioned Karadžić.

Asked whether he had ruled that all the conditions for Karadžić’s extradition to the Hague Tribunal had been met, Milan Dilparić replied succinctly: “Everything’s taken care of.“

B92 understands that Karadžić did not deny his identity at the interview. Questioning began just after 01.00 CET and lasted about an hour and a half in the Special Court building.

Karadžić’s legal counsel Svetozar Vujačić said that during questioning, the war crimes suspect said that he had been arrested on Friday at 21.30 CET on a bus traveling from New Belgrade to Batajnica. Vujačić conveyed to journalists in front of the Special Court Karadžić’s words that since then, he had been held in custody “in some room“.

According to the lawyer, during questioning, the judge had said that he was surprised by this information, and that the suspect’s claims would be looked into.

Vujačić also said that Karadžić had told him that during the arrest, police had put “some sort of hat on his head“, which was why he could not tell who had arrested him. He added that during questioning, the suspect had remained silent and said that the whole case was “a farce“.

The lawyer said that his client was “refusing food“, that he had lost weight, and that he was calm and composed. He said that a doctor had examined Karadžić, and diagnosed him as healthy.

Vujačić added that Karadžić would remain in the Special Court’s custody unit until his extradition to the Hague Tribunal.

The National Security Council announced that the war crimes suspect and former Bosnian Serb leader had been arrested on Monday evening in a Serbian security service operation. It is not officially known where he was arrested.

The Interior Ministry stated that MUP officers had not taken part in locating and arresting Karadžić. Meanwhile, a statement from the President’s Office reads:

“The National Security Council of the Republic of Serbia has announced that Radovan Karadžić was located and apprehended tonight in a Serbian security service operation. Karadžić has been brought before the investigative judge at the District Court’s War Crimes Chamber in Belgrade, in accordance with the Law on Cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.”