Police in Spain have arrested Veselin Vlahovic Batko, whose name has become synonymous with alleged war crimes committed in Grbavica, a part of Sarajevo that was under the control of Karadzic and his Bosnian Serb forces during the Bosnian war.
Batko was arrested in the city of Altei, where police were looking for a group of people suspected of committing criminal deeds, including robberies.
Spanish police issued a warrant for his arrest several years ago and it appeared he was using false documents while in Spain. According to the web site of police in Altei, Batko was known by the names of Krunoslav Godec, born December 15, 1972 in Zagreb; Mijodrag Petrovic, born June 1, 1966; and Jan Depiq, born in January 3, 1971.
Veselin Vlahovic Batko was born on July 3, 1969 in Niksic, Montenegro.
In Bosnia, Vlahovic is suspected of committing a number of war crimes. In 2008, the Bosnian State Court issued a decision ordering Vlahovic to be remanded into custody if he were to be arrested.
Bosnia’s State Prosecution opened an investigation on Vlahovic in 2005, suspecting him of responsibility for 54 crimes committed in Grbavica.
Following his arrest today, local media have reported that the Bosnian State Prosecutor's Office has begun the process of requesting Batko's extradition to Bosnia.
In 2001, he was imprisoned in Montenegro after having been convicted of robbery, but he managed to escape from prison.
People from Grbavica often refer to him 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 Karadzic's forces. In his opening statement in The Hague, Karadzic said that Grbavica was the “only Serb part” of the city.
According to a number of testimonies from people who survived part of the war in Grbavica, several detention centers were established in the area: at the shopping centre, in garage premises and in various shop basements such as the “Digitron-Buje” shop, where local Croats and Bosniak were detained.
This article is Premium Content. In order to gain access to it, please login to your account below if you are already a Premium Subscriber, or subscribe to one of our Premium Content packages.
Our Premium Service gives you access to exclusive content published on Balkan Insight, including analyses, investigations, comments, interviews and more. Subscribe to Balkan Transitional Justice Premium or to Full Premium Access and get unparalleled in-depth coverage of the Western Balkans.
If you have trouble logging in or any other questions regarding you account, please contact us