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Budapest court orders pre-extradition arrest of Serbian war criminal suspect

A Budapest court on Wednesday ordered the pre-extradition arrest of a Serbian national suspected of having participated in war crimes committed against civilians during the 1999 Kosovo war.

The man is suspected of taking part in the killing of 23 ethnic Albanian civilians in the town of Peja (Pec) in Kosovo in March and May of 1999, the Budapest Municipal Court said in a statement.

International warrants for the man’s arrest were issued by the United Nations’ special envoy to Kosovo and the supreme court of Belgrade, the court said. It noted the justice ministries of both Serbia and Kosovo have issued a formal request for his extradition.

The court said that the trial was aimed at verifying whether all conditions of the suspect’s extradition were in place. During his hearing, the suspect consented to his extradition only to Serbia.

The pre-extradition arrest will be in effect until mid-April, the court said, adding that it submitted all documents on the case for a final decision to be taken by the justice ministry.

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