Alleged Kosovan war criminal held in Vevey

A Kosovar wanted for war crimes has been arrested in Vevey, on Lake Geneva, the Swiss Federal Justice Office said on Wednesday.

This content was published on April 20, 2011 - 18:03 and agencies

The man, a former member of the Kosovo Liberation Army, was detained last Thursday at the request of Serbia, the office spokesman, Folco Galli, told the Swiss news agency, confirming a report from Albania.

Serbia sent Switzerland a formal extradition request in March. The man is said to have committed war crimes against Serb civilians and Albanians in 1999, in Gnjilane, about 50 kilometres from the Kosovan capital, Pristina.

Galli said extradition proceedings were at a very early stage. The suspect appeared at a hearing on Friday. But it is only after the Swiss authorities have determined whether all the conditions for an extradition have been met, that he can lodge an appeal. 

The request describes the suspect’s nationality as Serbian – Serbia does not recognise the independence of Kosovo - but even if he turns out to hold Kosovan citizenship, this would not be an obstacle to extradition, Galli explained.

If the man had had a Swiss passport he could not be extradited, since Switzerland does not extradite its own citizens.

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