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Balkans War Crimes Extradition

Date posted: Wednesday, 4th April 2012

Russell-Cooke's fraud and criminal litigation team acted in the appeal against the extradition of Mirko Zdinjak to the Republic of Croatia for offences including Genocide and War Crimes during the Balkans War. The case, led by Eva Akins, involved numerous complex issues of international law. A comprehensive range of arguments were advanced as to why extradition would be wrong these included: double jeopardy; abuse of process; the oppressive nature of any prosecution; passage of time; the reliance on extraneous considerations and incompatibility with Article 6 of the European Convention (Right to a Fair Trial).

Over 95% of all persons subject to extradition requests are extradited. The Judgement in this case was that extradition would be wrong by reason of the rule against double jeopardy. This provides in essence that a person cannot usually be tried twice for the same crime. The decision may have wide reaching ramifications for other cases involving the former Yugoslavia and other conflict zones. An important aspect of the case was the significance of post war amnesties which often form part of the long term process of reconciliation and stabilisation.

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