Dodik speaks about welcoming Plavšić

BELGRADE, SARAJEVO -- Republic of Srpska (RS) PM Milorad Dodik told B92 that Biljana Plavšić's arrival in Belgrade was organized "for purely moral reasons".

Plavšić in Belgrade on Tuesday (Beta)
Plavšić in Belgrade on Tuesday (Beta)

The former president of the Serb republic in Bosnia was released from a Swedish prison on Tuesday, after serving two thirds of her sentence. The Hague Tribunal found her guilty of committing war crimes in Bosnia.

Dodik said he sent an RS government jet to Sweden and welcomed Plavšić when she arrived in Belgrade out of respect for her decision to turn herself in to the Hague in order "not to burden the RS institutional capacities".

"She went voluntarily and I was the man who saw her off, and I believe it was my human obligation to do the same as she came back. I did not wish to send out any message other than that I have a human relationship with Biljana. They can calculate about other reasons for days," Dodik said of his critics.

The RS premier also touched on the decision by Bosnian Presidency Chairman Željko Komšić to cancel a planned trip to Sweden because of that country's decision to grand Plavšić early release.

"Likely, he had no business in Sweden anyway, and he's now looking for reasons. In the end, Biljana received no charity, she served two thirds of her sentence. The Hague Tribunal rules state that a prisoner can be released after serving half their sentence, if the Chamber of Appeals suggests that. And since they have, I see no reason for Mr. Komšić to make commotion over Sweden itself. Sweden did not make the decision but was merely, in line with the rules, the country where Biljana served her sentence," concluded Dodik.

“Bildt released Plavšić from prison”

Former Swedish Justice Minister Thomas Bodstrom said that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was directly responsible for the decision to shorten Biljana Plavšić’s sentence.

Bodstrom is now an MP and president of the legislative committee in the Swedish parliament.

“Bildt is very close to Biljana Plavšić. He was a witness in the Hague Tribunal trial in her defense,” Bodstrom said in an interview published by Sarajevo daily Dnevni Avaz.

“When the parole was being decided on for the first time by the Swedish government, Bildt did not attend the meeting, he did not take part in it and his decision was right. Now when the decision to release her was passed, Bildt participated in it. That was a serious mistake,” he said.

Bodstrom said he had asked parliament to look into Bildt’s role in setting Plavšić free, because “he said that the Hague Tribunal decides on how long Plavšić will remain in jail in Sweden, and that is not true, because the Swedish government decided.”

“The tribunal prescribed the length of the sentence, and the government decided to parole her. The Swedish government is responsible for the fact that Plavšić is free and in Serbia today. They wanted it; they did not have to do it. Bildt should not have been allowed to make this decision under any circumstances,” the former Swedish justice minister said.