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

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Pokot woman holds a razor blade after performing a circumcision on four girls  

The campaigns to end FGM are a welcomed step, but they don't go far enough

Charlotte Rachael Proudman
Our political system is fragmented, with disillusioned voters looking to the margins for satisfaction  

Politics of hope needed to avert flight to margins

Liam Fox
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game