Diana Jenkins: My support for a fellow Bosnian

Serbian prosecutors should do the right thing and drop their case altogether

Share
Related Topics

The legal travesty inflicted upon the former Bosnian leader Ejup Ganic is a chilling reminder that truth continues to be a casualty long after war is over. Although the politically motivated war crimes case against Dr Ganic was rejected this week, the allegations represent a broader campaign by ultra-nationalist groups within Serbia to excuse, explain and outright deny Bosnian genocide.

Dr Ganic's case wasted time and money and distracted from legitimate international efforts to bring true war criminals to justice – men like Ratko Mladic, the Serbian general who oversaw the systematic murder of more than 8,000 unarmed civilians at Srebrenica. Fifteen years later, he still remains free.

I recently returned from Srebrenica, where I met with mothers whose sons, husbands and brothers were trucked away by Serbian soldiers and never seen again. As mass graves are discovered and bodies identified, the dead are laid to rest in a sprawling cemetery. Thousands are still unaccounted for. This is the aftermath of genocide and it is undeniable.

Even for me, a Bosnian who lost my brother and fled Serbian artillery as a refugee during Sarajevo's siege, the scale of Srebrenica gave me a new and profound understanding of the war, its history and its continuing legacy. Rather than apprehend the man responsible, however, Serbian prosecutors issued an extradition warrant for Dr Ganic, a US-trained engineering professor, on accusations that he was responsible for the 1992 deaths of soldiers leaving Sarajevo along Dobrovoljacka Street under a UN-brokered safe passage.

Dr Ganic's case was twice reviewed by war crimes prosecutors – and twice they declined to file charges. A third review was on the verge of formally declaring Dr Ganic innocent and clearing his name. Serbia knew this and issued its extradition warrant anyway.

Dr Ganic's arrest at Heathrow was a cynical attempt to divert attention from the ongoing genocide trial of Radovan Karadzic, former president of Republika Srpska. The timing was no coincidence – 1 March was the first day of Karadzic's trial in The Hague and the day marking Bosnian independence. Ridiculous Serbian claims about new "evidence" against Dr Ganic got their day in court and upstaged Karadzic's trial. That was important for Serbian deniers because they use tragedies of war to justify subsequent atrocities recognised throughout the world as war crimes. Rape, torture and the methodical murder of civilians cannot be justified. Serbia's campaign of ethnic cleansing and extermination is well documented, as are the lengths some will go to cover it up.

Under those circumstances, it would be impossibble for Dr Ganic to receive a fair trial in Belgrade, a fact that the British courts fully recognised yesterday in rejecting Serbia's extradition request. It was for this reason I posted Dr Ganic's £300,000 bail, even though we had never met. Serbian prosecutors should do the right thing and drop their case altogether, if they hope to help bring their country into the international community.

One of the conditions laid out for Serbia to join the EU is that it must capture Mladic and deport him to The Hague for trial by the International War Crimes Tribunal. That must remain non-negotiable. At ceremonies commemorating the Srebrenica genocide, Serbian President Boris Tadic said Mladic will be caught and brought to justice. Until he is, there can be no justice for the mothers of Srebrenica. International politics don't matter to these women and their requests are basic: account for the thousands still missing and bring those responsible to justice. The rest of us must demand the same.

Diana Jenkins is a businesswoman and philanthropist

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: New Business Development Manager / Sales - UK New Business

£24000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Join a fast growing, UK based I...

MBDA UK Ltd: Mission Planning and Control Solutions Systems Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? A pro-act...

MBDA UK Ltd: System Design Capability

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? The small...

Recruitment Genius: Time Served Fabricator / Welders - Immediate Start

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fabricator welder required for ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Under the current rate of progress, the UK will only reduce its carbon emissions by 21- 23 per cent between 2013 and 2025  

The Government's cosy relationship with big energy companies is killing thousands of people

Zachary Boren
 

Not only is Liz Kendall a shy Tory, but her words are also likely to appeal to racists

Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific