General Jovan Divjak, former Deputy Commander of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), was detained on March 3, 2011, by the Austrian authorities on an international arrest warrant issued by the government of Serbia. General Divjak was arrested at the Vienna International Airport at approximately 8:00 pm local time. The Austrian judicial authorities have indicated that they intend to keep General Divjak detained for two weeks until a determination is made regarding Serbia's extradition request.
The Serbian government issued a warrant for Mr. Divjak's arrest on the grounds that he was involved in war crimes during the siege of Sarajevo which lasted from April 5, 1992 to February 29, 1996. Specifically, Mr. Divjak is accused of war crimes during an incident that occurred on Dobrovoljacka Street in Sarajevo on May 3, 1992.
Mr. Divjak's arrest is not an isolated case and is part of a continued pattern by the government of Serbia to intimidate all those who stood in defense of BiH. Last year, on March 1, 2010, the Serbian government issued a similar arrest warrant for Mr. Ejup Ganic, the former member of the wartime presidency of the Republic of BiH. Mr. Ganic was arrested on March 1, 2010, at London's Heathrow Airport for the alleged crimes committed during the same Dobrovoljacka Street incident. Four months after the arrest, Mr. Ganic was released because there was no evidence against him, proving that Serbia's arrest warrant was politically motivated.
BAACBH strongly condemns the arrest of General Jovan Divjak and believes that once again, Serbia's action is an assault on Bosnia's inherent and inalienable right to defend its population against the Serbian aggression. It is an assault on the reconciliation process, and it is an attempt to undermine the atrocities committed in BiH from 1992 to 1995 by the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) and Serbian paramilitary troops under Belgrade's command. Serbia has demonstrated by this politicized action that it does not respect Bosnia's sovereignty and that it is not yet prepared to be a trusted neighbor in the Balkans.
BAACBH urges for the appropriate authorities to swiftly carry