Belgrade court rules Radicals won't be extradited to Hague
The Higher Court in Belgrade has decided that three officials of the Serb Radical Party (SRS) will not be extradited to the Hague Tribunal.Source: Tanjug
The party made this announcement on Wednesday. Later during the day, Tanjug reported that Serbia's legal representative Sasa Obradovic on Wednesday informed the Hague Tribunal of this decision, saying that the final ruling will be made early next week.
Serbia informed the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of a first-instance ruling by a Belgrade court stating that, under the Serbian law on cooperation with the tribunal, the conditions for extradition of three Serb Radical Party officials have not been met.
In a petition to the ICTY, Obradovic said that the preliminary proceedings judge of the Department for War Crimes established that the prerequisites for the arrests and extradition of defendants Petar Jojic, Vjerica Radeta and Jovo Ostojic pursuant to an ICTY warrant of January 19, 2015, have not been met.
The first-instance ruling is not yet final and a second-instance ruling by a three-member chamber is expected next week, reads the document, seen by Tanjug.
The preliminary proceedings judge found that none of the cumulative prerequisites envisioned by the Law - crimes referred to in Articles 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the ICTY Statute (gravest war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity) - have not been met.
The Hague Prosecutor has charged the group with pressuring two prosecution witnesses into testifying in SRS leader Vojislav Seselj's favor, and offering them favors in return.
According to an SRS statement issued earlier in the day, a judge in charge of preliminary proceedings ruled that conditions for the extradition of the three party officials have not been met, as Serbia is under obligation to extradite only those of its citizens accused of serious war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.
This obligation does not apply to contempt of court cases, the SRS said.
However, the court's final decision will be made by a three-member panel, the party added.
The judge who made the decision quoted by the SRS, on Tuesday heard statements from the three officials.
The Hague Tribunal in March acquitted Vojislav Seselj of all charges. He was accused of war crimes committed in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia's northern Vojvodina province.
The Hague Prosecution said it would appeal the ruling.