Bosnian war general arrested in Vienna

AFP , Friday 4 Mar 2011

Top Bosnian general Jovan Divjak held on war crimes charges

Bosnian army General Divjak speaking during an interview with Reuters in his office in Sarajevo in 1995, (Reuters).

Austria confirmed on Friday the detention of top Bosnian wartime general Jovan Divjak in Vienna on a Serbian arrest warrant.

"(Divjak) was arrested at 8:00pm (on Thursday) at Vienna airport as he flew in from Sarajevo," Interior Ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia told AFP.

"There was a Serbian arrest warrant, the accusation is for participating in war crimes."

Divjak was flying through Vienna on his way to Bologna, Italy, Gollia added.

Prosecutors in Korneuburg, just outside Vienna, who have jurisdiction over the airport and are handling the case, gave no details as to when Divjak might be questioned or how long he might be detained in Austria.

Bosnia's foreign minister Sven Alkalaj had said in a statement overnight that Divjak was "being taken to a magistrate in the morning."

"Immediately after being informed that general Divjak was detained at the airport, we sent our ambassador to offer him a consular assistance," he added.

Bosnian TV meanwhile reported late Thursday that Divjak was "currently being questioned by the police."

Divjak -- a symbol of the Sarajevo siege, a notorious incident in the bloody three-and-a-half-year civil war in the former Yugoslav republic -- had been a commanding officer during the 1992 attack on a Yugoslav army convoy in which 18 soldiers were killed.

In Belgrade, Serbia's war crimes prosecution said it has not been "officially informed" of the arrest and refused comment, Beta news agency reported.

Last year, the Serbian authorities sought from Britain the extradition of Bosnia's former president Ejup Ganic on charges of ordering a series of atrocities in Sarajevo and involvement in the 1992 attack on the convoy.

But in August a London court rejected Belgrade's request and allowed Ganic to return to Bosnia five months after the arrest.

Bosnia's war between its Croat, Muslim and Serb communities left some 100,000 dead and displaced 2.2 million people. It left the country split into two semi-autonomous halves -- the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Serbs' Republika Srpska.

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