Croatia to ask Australia to extradite accused Serb war criminal

[JURIST] Croatia [JURIST news archive] plans to ask the government of Australia [JURIST news archive] to extradite former Serb commander “Captain Dragan” Vasiljkovic [News.com report], charged with war crimes committed during Croatia’s 1991-1995 independence war. Croatia accuses Vasiljkovic of torturing and killing Croat soldiers, civilians and prisoners of war and of involvement in the forced expulsion of entire villages in Serb-held territories in southern Croatia while he commanded a Serb paramilitary unit. Vasiljkovic, a dual citizen of Australia and Serbia, told prosecutors he would return to Croatia “only as the commander of a tank brigade” and claimed that the Croatian government fabricated evidence that the citizens would not accept. Though Vasiljkovic repeatedly denied committing any crimes against humanity in media interviews, he has admitted to training Serbian recruits, interrogating enemy soldiers, killing in combat and leading attacks on command posts during the Balkans war. Vasiljkovic has already served as a key witness [BBC report] for the prosecution in the ongoing trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosovic [UN backgrounder] at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague. Former ICTY [JURIST news archive] deputy prosecutor Graham Blewitt said in December that Australia has become a safe haven for war criminals [JURIST report] avoiding prosecution because more than 30 suspected war criminals have been granted temporary residency there. The Australian has more.

 

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