The State Prosecution in Bosnia and Herzegovina will do “everything” to have Veselin Vlahovic Batko extradited from Spain, prosecution spokesperson Boris Grubesic told Balkan Insight.
Batko was arrested on Monday in the eastern Spanish city of Alicante. Batko is a Montenegrin citizen, but at the time of his arrest he was in possession of false Bulgarian identity documents.
Batko is a war crimes suspect in Bosnia and the country issued an international warrant for his arrest in 2008.
The Montenegrin Ministry of Justice has also announced that it will seek to have Batko extradited to Montenegro.
People from Grbavica in Bosnia often refer to Batko as “a monster from Grbavica”. He was a member of a military unit called the “White Angels” and according to witnesses he allegedly participated in a number of killings and the rape of women and girls.
Grbavica is a part of Sarajevo located on the left bank of river Miljacka, and during the war it was under the full control of Bosnian Serb forces.
Batko was born in Niksic, Montenegro; he returned to the country after the Bosnian war. Police in Montenegro issued a warrant for his arrest after he escaped from prison in 2001. He was serving a sentence for robbery when he escaped.
Bosnian authorities asked for his extradition from Montenegro in that period, but the request was refused due to legal obstacles. At that time, the laws of the two countries did not allow for that sort of legal cooperation.
Spanish daily El Pais reported that Batko had been living in the country for 8 years, and was known to local police as a suspect in several crimes. Police were searching for him after he was allegedly involved in an armed robbery and later an attack on a police officer.
El Pais also reported that a decision on his extradition could be made sometime next week, but noted that one possible obstacle could be the fact that he is also suspected of having committed a number of crimes in Spain.
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