Bosnia seeks extradition of Missouri man in war crimes case

National

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A former military policeman in Bosnia who has been living in Missouri for about 17 years is facing extradition to his native country, where he is accused of raping a pregnant Serbian woman who was being held as a prisoner in 1992.

Adem Kostjerevac, 58, who lives in unincorporated southern St. Louis County, will appear in federal court Tuesday in St. Louis for a hearing on an extradition request from the Bosnian government, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

An extradition request filed by the government alleges that Kostjerevac, who served with the 1st Muslim Brigade of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, raped the woman in a small village after she was arrested Sept. 17, 1992, by Muslim forces who surrounded her village. The arrest occurred during the Bosnian war that raged from 1992 until 1995.

The woman, who was a neighbor of Kosterjerevac’s, said she was later raped several times by a guard at a different location, according to the request. The multiple assaults caused her to miscarry, and when she was released in a prisoner exchange on Feb. 5, 1993, she weighed just 81 pounds, according to the request.

The woman testified before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 2005.

Kostjerevac told FBI agents in St. Louis in 2014 that he saw the woman — who had been his neighbor and the wife of a former classmate — in custody but rather than raping her, he sent her food and protected her when others tried to kill her, according to the request. He also said he saw the woman only once.

Kostjerevac, who came to the U.S. with his wife and who has five adult children, was indicted in Bosnia in 2015. Court documents say he suffers from PTSD, memory lapses, diabetes, high blood pressure and has had a heart attack. He cited his health problems as the reason he failed to voluntarily appear in Bosnian court.

The extradition request was filed on Aug. 14 of this year but remained sealed until after Kostjerevac was arrested on Aug. 23.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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