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Supreme Court Rules: Extradite Serb-Israeli Wanted for Genocide

Israel's supreme court ruled that an Israeli-Serb accused of involvement in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre could be extradited to Bosnia.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 11/30/2012, 4:15 AM

Israeli Supreme Court
Israeli Supreme Court
Flash 90

Israel's supreme court ruled on Thursday that an Israeli-Serb accused of involvement in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre could be extradited to Bosnia to face a charge of genocide.

Aleksandar Cvetkovic was arrested in January 2011 on an international warrant after witnesses testified that he had assisted in the shooting of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.

Cvetkovic has denied participating in the massacre, saying that he was merely serving as an army driver when Srebrenica fell to the Serbs during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.

In August 2011, the Jerusalem district court ruled that Cvetkovic should be sent for trial in a Sarajevo war crimes court. Cvetkovic appealed, but a panel of three supreme justices upheld the earlier ruling.

"I believe the appellant's extradition is not... a wrong or unjust deed," wrote the head of the panel, Selim Jubran. "Therefore there is no justification in not extraditing him to Bosnia," said his ruling, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

A spokeswoman for Israel's justice ministry told the news agency that this was the first time a genocide suspect was liable to be extradited.

She said the final authority to order an extradition was Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, who had received Thursday's ruling, but has not yet made his decision.

The district court had cited Cvetkovic's "involvement in the offence of genocide during the massacre carried out in 1995 at Branjevo farm in the vicinity of the town of Srebrenica."

He was arrested in January 2011 after Israel received an extradition request from Bosnia.

According to the extradition request, Cvetkovic, 42, was part of an eight-man firing squad that killed about 1,000 Bosnian Muslims at Branjevo farm in July 1995.

The Bosnian-born Cvetkovic, who served in the Bosnian Serb army during the war, immigrated to Israel with his Jewish wife and children in 2006, and received Israeli citizenship that year.