The Daily Telegraph weighs in on Ejup Ganic:

Bosnia has demanded his release and supporters claimed Britain had allowed itself to be used as pawn in the long-running battle between the two former Yugoslav nations.

The Telegraph quotes both an unnamed spokesman for Lady Thatcher and Robin Harris, her former speechwriter:

"She is deeply concerned. It is a mark of her regard for him that he is one of the relatively limited number of people she has met recently. She is worried about the precedents that these arrest warrants represent to visiting statesmen to London and absolutely urges a quick resolution."

Robin Harris, Lady Thatcher’s former speech writer, said: "The idea that Serbia can now just actually indict and seek the extradition to Serbia of people who were, in fact, of course defending the local population against Serb-inspired aggression as long ago as 1992 on Bosnian rather than Serbian territory; and that actually such a request should be even given any kind of proper consideration at all by the British courts is to me quite astonishing,"

They also cite me(!) as saying that Ganic would joke "that his career was doomed because he had been born in Serbia". Which of course is not what I have said: how could I, when he was a leading member of the Bosnian Presidency and having an evidently undoomed career?

Idiots. Sigh.

The big policy question raised by Lady Thatcher is a good one. What are the limits of freedom?

On the one hand, we want to be open to foreigners (including political leaders) visiting here both as tourists and on business.

On the other, we do not want foreigners coming here to escape justice when they are wanted in their own countries for alleged crimes.

Plus we do not want unjust regimes to insist that foreigners on UK soil be sent back home to face trumped-up charges.

Plus we do not want to annoy generally friendly foreign states whose ideas of democracy are, hem, less sophisticated than ours by implying that they are incapable of running a fair trial.

Plus we do not want to be the world’s default option for anyone wanting a job and free benefits and claiming to be an asylum seeker.

Nor do we want our legal system to be abused through politically motivated ‘lawfare’ by ‘activists’ issuing arrest warrants for foreign leaders they don’t like.

Oh, and we also want to see all war crimes suspects brought to justice.

And we do not want to waste our time trying to fathom out in nano-level which countries are capable of running a fair trial or not, in general and in particular cases. Since almost none are (we suspect).

Which is why we want to make it fairly easy to extradite people to especially trustworthy international state partners in the EU and beyond, whose motives and ability to dispense justice are deemed (by us) to be (more or less) above suspicion. That means you, Serbia – and Bosnia and Herzegovina too!

Not to forget that we want to keep politics out of the courts.

Except that we do not want the courts taking decisions for tedious narrow legal reasons which could screw us in our international dealings.

Hence we have an odd hybrid system with detailed rules laid down for how extraditions are to be run by the courts but with ultimate authority lying with the Home Secretary (whose own criteria for stopping an extradition approved by the courts are tightly defined).

And did I mention the Human Rights Act?

Phew. Does anyone care to rank these policy considerations in priority order?

No. I thought not.

Mr Ganic’s case ticks a number of these boxes simultaneously, which is why the line coming from Robin Harris is open to question.

Plus huffing and puffing that it is wrong to look at extraditing someone ‘who was only defending his country’ is a perverse reading of what happened, namely an attack on a convoy including UN vehicles which was trying to leave Sarajevo under a deal agreed by the Bosnian leadership including Mr Ganic himself. Watch the videos.

This one falls clearly within the war crime – case to answer category. A point not lost on Bakir Izetbegovic (son of former Bosnian President Izetbegovic who himself was in that convoy). Here he is quoted on B92 from Belgrade:

Neki zlo