Bosniak member of presidency wants Nikolic's visit postponed

Bosnian Presidency member Bakir Izetbegovic has asked for Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic's visit to Sarajevo, planned for Tuesday, to be postponed.

Source: B92, Tanjug

The official demand to this effect, that B92 has seen, was sent by Izetbegovic, who represents Bosniaks (Muslims) in the presidency, to the institution's other two members - current chair Mladen Ivanic and Dragan Cavic, who represent Serb and Croat peoples, respectively.

Oric was a commander of Muslim forces in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war there in the first half of the 1990s, and is wanted by Serbia on war crimes charges. He was recently arrested in Switzerland

on a Serbian warrant.

In his request, Izetbegovic writes: "As you know during 2013 the Prosecution of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the War Crimes Prosecution of Serbia signed a protocol on cooperation in prosecuting persons who committed acts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, which guarantees that processes for the said criminal acts will be conducted primarily in the state of which the suspect is a citizen," and adds:

"Considering that Mr. Oric has residence in Bosnia-Herzegovina and that he is available to its law enforcement organs, we expected the Republic of Serbia to, in the spirit of good neighborly relations, respect its commitments toward the provisions of the signed bilateral agreements and protocols between the two states, that is, that it would hand over the case to Bosnia-Herzegovina, and would not send a request to Switzerland to extradite Mr. Oric."

Izetbegovic further states that he received information via diplomatic channels that the Serbian Justice Ministry on June 12 sent the extradition request to Switzerland.

"For that reason I demand that the planned visit is postponed and not realized until the extradition procedure before the Swiss justice organs has been completed, and until Mr. Oric returns to Bosnia-Herzegovina," he wrote.

"Relations don't depend on indictments"

Relations between Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina cannot be based on legal proceedings launched against individuals who committed war crimes, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic stated on Monday during a meeting with Ranko Skrbic, the outgoing Bosnian ambassador in Belgrade.

Judicial bodies will decide on the fate of former war commander of Muslim forces Naser Oric, Nikolic said, adding he will not affect the decision in any way, the president's press service issued in a statement.

Oric was arrested in Switzerland on June 10, on an international warrant the Interpol National Central Bureau for Serbia issued against him and three more Bosniaks alleging crimes committed against Serbs in Srebrenica.

"Serbia is committed to preservation of stability in the region and has invested much effort in the last three years to help establish better relations between former Yugoslav countries," said Nikolic, who received Skrbic in a farewell visit.

"This is the policy Serbia will continue to pursue, and we hope that the other Balkan countries, and primarily Bosnia-Herzegovina, will put in equal efforts and help Serbia succeed in making the region once and for all an oasis of stability," Nikolic concluded.


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