[JURIST] The High Court of Australia [official website] on Tuesday ordered that alleged Serbian war criminal Dragan Vasiljkovic [Trial Watch backgrounder; JURIST news archive] be extradited to Croatia to face prosecution. Vasiljkovic, an Australian citizen also known as Daniel Snedden, is accused of war crimes occurring during the 1991-1995 Croatian war of independence [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. The high court's decision overturns a September ruling by the Federal Court of Australia [official website], which held [judgment text; JURIST report] that Vasiljkovic should not be extradited due to the risk that his political beliefs would subject him to prejudice if he were returned to Croatia.
The High Court's decision comes after a prolonged judicial debate over whether Vasiljkovic should be returned to Croatia to stand trial. In 2007, an Australian court ordered [JURIST report] that Vasiljkovic be handed over to Croatian authorities. Subsequent appeals resulted in conflicting federal court judgments and ultimately led to Tuesday's high court decision. Vasiljkovic was arrested in Australia in 2006 pursuant to an extradition request [JURIST reports] from the Croatian government.