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Swiss Say Bosnian Muslim Wartime Commander To Contest Extradition

Former Bosnian military officer Naser Oric (file photo)

Former Bosnian military officer Naser Oric (file photo)

Swiss authorities say a Bosnian Muslim wartime commander who was arrested in Switzerland in connection with alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity will contest his extradition to Serbia.

Switzerland's Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) said in a statement that commander Naser Oric was arrested in Thonex in the Swiss canton of Geneva on June 10 based on a request submitted by the Serbian authorities in February last year.

Oric is being held in detention pending extradition.

The FOJ said it will ask the Serbian authorities to submit a formal extradition request within the 18-day period laid down in the European Convention on Extradition.

Bosnia's Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic said the arrest was politically motivated.

In July 1995 Bosnian Serb forces swept into a UN-designated "safe haven" from where they took 8,000 Muslim men and boys to be executed in the days that followed.

Oric, then a Bosnian army commander, was in charge of organizing the defense of the town.

He was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for crimes against Serbs but was acquitted of all charges in 2008.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP