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Germany

Serbian war crimes suspect held in Germany

A suspected Serbian war criminal has been held in German custody for weeks, while his co-accused went on trial in Belgrade. He is appealing against his extradition.

Hands in handcuffs

Zoran Obradovic is fighting his extradition to Serbia

Alleged Serbian war criminal Zoran Obradovic is being held in Germany and is fighting extradition for trial in Serbia, the German justice ministry confirmed over the weekend.

"The regional court in Frankfurt am Main has approved the extradition to Serbia," a spokeswoman said. But the suspect has lodged an appeal to the German constitutional court, she added.

Obradovic was arrested several weeks ago on a Serbian warrant, Serbian prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic said, adding that he expects German officials to hand him over to Serbia soon.

Obradovic belonged to a notorious paramilitary group called the Sakali, or jackals. He is suspected of taking part in the torture, killing, looting and expulsion of ethnic Albanians from the village of Cuska, near the western Kosovo town of Pec, on May 14, 1999. Nine other members of the group accused of the same crimes went on trial in Belgrade on Monday.

The conflict in Kosovo, which unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, cost the lives of some 13,000 people, mostly ethnic Albanians.

Serbia contests Kosovo's independence, but the country is now under pressure from the European Union as it seeks to join the bloc. In their bid for membership Serbian leaders have increased their efforts to track down accused war criminals and deal with their country's past.

Author: Holly Fox (AFP, AP)
Editor: Ben Knight

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