News 28 Oct 09

Dodik Says Had Moral Reasons to Welcome Plavsic

Republika Srpska Premier Milorad Dodik says he had moral reasons to welcome the former president of the Bosnian Serb republic, Biljana Plavsic, who was released on Tuesday from a Swedish prison.

Bojana Barlovac

Plavsic arrived in Belgrade on Tuesday. Upon arrival, she went to her apartment in the city's Vracar neighbourhood, accompanied by Dodik.

Earlier, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, had decided that she was eligible for early release since she had served two-thirds of her sentence.

In an interview with broadcaster B92, Dodik pointed out that Plavsic had voluntarily surrendered herself to the ICTY in 2001 and that he was the one who saw her off.

“I believe it was my human obligation to do the same as she came back. I did not wish to send out any message other than that I have a human relationship with Biljana," he said.

He confirmed that it was he who had sent the Republika Srpska government jet to Sweden to pick her up.

The Croat chair of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, Zeljko Komsic, cancelled a planned visit to Sweden in November in protest at Plavsic's early release.

Komsic said that the related actions of Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt were "particularly unacceptable and compromising" considering that he had been a defence witness for Plavsic and had visited her in prison, but had not refrained from voting in favour of the government decision to support her early release.

Referring to these comments, Dodik said that Komsic had no business in Sweden anyway and that he is now looking for reasons not to go there.  

“The Hague Tribunal rules state that a prisoner can be released after serving half their sentence, if the Chamber of Appeals suggests that. And since they have, I see no reason for Mr. Komsic to make a commotion over Sweden. Sweden did not make the decision but was merely [...] the country where Biljana served her sentence," Dodik told B92.

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