A Sarajevo court has called for an international arrest warrant to be issued for former Interior Minister Alija Delimustafic, who is understood to be in hiding after being ordered to return to police custody.
Delimustafic was detained in November in an organised crime probe also spanning neighbouring Croatia. According to the European Commission’s latest enlargement report on Bosnia & Herzegovina, the country has “some level of preparation” in the fight against organised crime, though more progress is needed. “Fighting organised crime remains fundamental to countering criminal infiltration of the political, legal and economic system of the country,” said the November 6 report.
The court has asked the prosecution to launch procedures for issuing an international arrest warrant for Delimustafic and one other person as they could not be found after the court’s decision to return them and two other suspects into custody for two more months, Klix.ba reported on December 21.
The four were arrested in November in a joint operation by Bosnian and Croatian police along with several others accused of involvement in organised crime. The two forces raided a total of 60 locations, including 40 in Bosnia and 20 in Croatia, in search of evidence of organised criminal activity. Amongst the specific crimes being investigated are abuse of office, violation of the law by a judge and money-laundering.
Earlier in December, the court decided to free the same four people, but the decision was appealed by the prosecution, which has claimed that they could escape from the country or put pressure on witnesses. On December 20, court changed the decision following a ruling by the supreme court in favour of the prosecution.
Following the December 20 court ruling, the police went to arrest the four suspects, but Delimustafic and Jusa Skrijelj were missing.
The police found a fake passport when they arrested Delimustafic earlier this month. Skrijelj has Belgian as well as Bosnian citizenship.
The former interior minister has long history of legal troubles. He has previously been sentenced to four years in jail for kidnapping. In addition, Delimustafic has been accused of bank fraud, organised crime and abuse of office while he was a minister, connected to the purchase of 32 automobiles.
Delimustafic has also been accused of attempting to organise a coup against former President Alija Izetbegovic back in the 1990s. In the long list of accusations against him are also falsifying documents and weapons trafficking. His name has been linked to the creation of the Bosnian death squad at the beginning of the bloody 1992-1995 Bosnian war.
Local media claim that Delimustafic has sponsored three political parties in the past, including the Bosniak Party of Democratic Action (SDA), which is a member of the ruling coalition.
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