- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Ejup Ganic, the former vice president and acting president of Bosnia-Herzegovina, returned to Sarajevo on Wednesday and was greeted by hundreds of supporters a day after a British judge declared him a free man and rejected Serbia’s request for his extradition to face war crimes charges.

Mr. Ganic was arrested in March by British authorities following the Serbian extradition request. Serbia claimed Mr. Ganic ordered an attack on Yugoslav soldiers who were retreating from the Bosnian capital at the beginning of the 1992-95 war but failed to provide any evidence.

The British judge blasted the extradition request as abusive and politically motivated.

Mr. Ganic, 64, flew with his family from London. The Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, briefly met with him during a short layover at the Istanbul airport.

The crowd at the Sarajevo airport carried banners saying, “We were all with you,” and waved with Bosnian flags and even a British one.

Serbian prosecutors claimed that Mr. Ganic personally ordered a series of attacks on illegal targets, including an officers club, a military hospital and what the Serbs describe as a medical convoy making its way out of town.

But the British judge said the officers club was a valid target, the medical convoy was in fact packed with army vehicles and military equipment, and the hospital was unlikely to have been hit on the day Mr. Ganic took charge.

While he acknowledged that war crimes may have taken place against Serbian troops as they left Sarajevo, he said there was nothing to indicate Mr. Ganic had been involved.

Mr. Ganic told the crowd he was glad the judge concluded that Serbia misused the British judicial system and that the process against him was politically motivated.

Mr. Ganic’s release left Bosnian Serbs disappointed.

“This is another proof that Serbs are treated as secondary citizens,” said the leader of the Serb Democratic Party, Mladen Bosic.