Swedish citizen jailed in Serbia released

The Swedish citizen remanded into custody in Serbia last week suspected of war crimes has been released, according to information from the foreign ministry.

“He is leaving the country,” said head of informations at the ministry, Anders Jörle, to news agency TT on Thursday afternoon.

The Swedish embassy in Belgrade had been told on Thursday that the preliminary investigation against the man would be dropped.

The man, who is in his mid-forties and resides in the Gothenburg-area, was travelling 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 last weekend.

At the time, the foreign ministry confirmed to The Local that they had been informed he was suspected of war crimes in Kosovo in the late 1990’s.

But according to news agency TT, the man’s Belgrade-based lawyer said that he had been in Sweden at the time that the crimes allegedly were committed and that the police arrested the wrong person.

Serbian authorities questioned the man on Wednesday and it was after this hearing that the judge decided to release him.

The ministry knows very little about the circumstances around the decision.

“He hasn’t been released yet and we don’t know exactly when it will happen,” Åkesson Lindblom told TT.

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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.