Sweden court begins first war crimes trial of former Bosnian prison guard

[JURIST] The Stockholm District Court on Wednesday began proceedings in the the country's first war crimes trial of Swedish citizen and former Bosnian prison guard Ahmet Makitan [Trial Watch profile]. Makitan is accused [JURIST report] of violating the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War [text, PDF] by kidnapping people and torturing and insulting prisoners at a camp in Dretelj, Bosnia-Herzegovina, during the Balkan War [JURIST news archive]. Makitan arrived in Sweden in 2001 and obtained citizenship in 2006. The charges are the result of an investigation carried out by Sweden's National War Crimes Commission, which was created in 2008. Makitan has been in police custody since January. Questions have arisen regarding the ability to prosecute [Sveriges Radio report, in Swedish] Makitan for war crimes within the framework of Sweden's domestic legislation. The proceedings are expected to last five months [The Local Report].

In addition to the Makitan case, Sweden is also considering litigation in several other war crimes cases. In June, Sweden announced [JURIST report] its intention to investigate the possible role of Lundin Petroleum [corporate website] in crimes against humanity committed in Sudan from 1997 to 2003. The investigation will examine allegations made in a report [text, PDF] released by the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS) [advocacy website], which alleged that Sudanese troops attacked and displaced civilians so that Lundin could have access to land for oil drilling. In April, Swedish Police [official website] arrested [press release, in Swedish] a Kosovo war crimes suspect. The suspect is accused [JURIST report] of committing war crimes during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in the small village of Cuska in May 1999. A Swedish police spokesperson did not release the man's full name because of Swedish privacy laws but did state that the suspect is a Serbian man in his 30s [AFP/SW report].

 

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