AP NEWS

Missouri man faces extradition to Bosnia on war crime charge

March 23, 2020 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge has approved the extradition of a St. Louis County man to Bosnia, where he faces a war crime charge for allegedly raping a female prisoner.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Cohen’s order on Friday won’t result in Adem Kostjerevac’s immediate extradition, but finds that federal prosecutors provided “sufficient competent evidence” to allow extradition. The final decision on extradition is up to the Secretary of State.

The government of Bosnia-Herzegovina has accused Kostjerevac of raping a pregnant Serbian prisoner in 1992. Kostjerevac was a military policeman at the time. He was indicted there in 2015 and a prosecutor sought an order to arrest him in April 2017.

Kostjerevac’s lawyer, in a hearing last year in St. Louis, challenged a witness identification of Kostjerevac and argued in court filings that he had been charged too long after the alleged crime.

The extradition request says the woman was arrested in 1992 after Muslim forces surrounded her village. She was held for two weeks. She told investigators that she had been pregnant and that the multiple assaults caused her to miscarry. She was later raped multiple times by a guard in a different location, court documents say, and released as part of a prisoner exchange in 1993, weighing just 81 pounds (36 kilograms).

Kostjerevac denied the allegations during an interview with FBI agents at his St. Louis County home in 2014. He said he sent her food and prevented others from killing her.

Court documents show Kostjerevac came to the U.S. about 17 years ago with his wife. He has five adult children.