Australia court rejects accused Serb war criminal extradition appeal

[JURIST] The Australian Federal Court [official website] Tuesday dismissed [judgment text] the application of former Serbian paramilitary commander Dragan Vasiljkovic [Trial Watch backgrounder] for review of a 2007 extradition order [JURIST report] that he be handed over to Croatian authorities. Vasiljkovic, also known as Daniel Snedden, is accused of war crimes in connection with his treatment of Croatian prisoners during the 1991-1995 War of Independence [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. Justice Dennis Cowdroy [official profile] rejected Vasiljkovic's arguments that he would not be afforded a fair trial in Croatia:

The Court ... finds that there is no specific evidence of pre-trial bias against the applicant, nor is there a nexus established between the applicant’s apprehension and the question of whether he would be prejudiced at his trial. Further, the evidence before the Court establishes that the Croatian judiciary is capable of providing a fair trial to the applicant.
Cowdroy also found that there is no requirement for a jury trial under Section 80 of the Australian Constitution [texts], nor was the delay between the offenses and extradition an abuse of process, since Vasiljkovic would be tried in Croatia, and not in Australia.

Vasiljkovic was arrested [JURIST report] in Australia in 2006 at Croatia's request. In 2007, a lower Australian court ordered that he be handed over to Croatian authorities pursuant to their extradition request. Vasiljkovic moved to Australia in 1969 at the age of 15 and became an Australian citizen before returning to Serbia to participate in the conflict. A former prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [official website; JURIST news archive] accused Australia in 2005 of becoming a safe haven [JURIST report] for war criminals.


 

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