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WAR CRIMES

Swede suspected of war crimes in Serbia

A Swedish citizen was remanded into custody in Serbia on Wednesday after having been picked up by Serbian border police when entering the country. According to the Swedish foreign ministry he is suspected of war crimes.

“We have been informed that a Swedish man has been detained by Serbian border police,” Anna Björkander of the foreign ministry information department confirmed to The Local.

The man, who is in his mid-forties, is currently being held in custody in Belgrade and according to Björkander he is suspected of war crimes.

“We have received information indicating that he is suspected of war crimes in Kosovo in the late 1990’s,” she said.

So far the Swedish embassy has not been allowed to see the man but according to Björkander the Swedish ambassador put in a formal request to meet him on Thursday.

“We are hoping to see him shortly, but we don’t know when that will be yet,” Björkander said.

As the embassy staff haven’t been able to see the man, Björkander was not able to say what his reactions to the accusations are.

However, according to news agency TT, the man’s Belgrade-based lawyer says that he was in Sweden at the time that the crimes allegedly were committed and that the police have arrested the wrong person.

The man, who is from the Gothenburg-area, was traveling to Kosovo with his family where they were due to go on holiday, when he was taken into custody by border police between Hungary and Serbia.

According to Björkander there will be a hearing on Monday in Belgrade.

“We don’t know whether we will be able to attend, but we will be following the process closely,” Björkander told The Local.

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LAW

Swedish law to include crimes against humanity

Sweden is set to introduce crimes against humanity into its penal code in a move to tackle widespread, systematic, and inhumane crimes abroad in Swedish courts.

Swedish law to include crimes against humanity

Sweden said Friday it would introduce crimes against humanity into its penal code to allow it to judge such cases in its own courts, following similar moves by France and Canada.

The change, which also expands laws on genocide and war crimes, is part of a justice ministry bill expected to pass easily in parliament and come into force in July 2014, the Swedish press said.

Sweden's Minister of Justice, Beatrice Ask, told the daily Svenska Dagbladet that the current penal code required some improvements and "the way this kind of serious crime is dealt with will become much clearer".

Crimes against humanity, according to the definition in the bill, include murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, torture, sexual violence, persecution and any other inhumane act or omission committed against civilians, in a widespread or systematic manner.    

Several people in Sweden have been sentenced since 2006 for war crimes committed during the Yugoslav wars.    

In June this year the country's first trial for genocide concluded with a life sentence for the Swede of Rwandan origin, Stanislas Mbanenande.

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