The Australian Federal Police (AFP) [official website] on Wednesday apprehended alleged Serbian war criminal Dragan Vasiljkovic [Trial Watch backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in New South Wales. Vasilijkovic, also known as Daniel Sneeden, had been on the run since March 30 after the High Court [official website] ordered his extradition [JURIST report] to Croatia. The AFP worked with the Dutch National Prosecutor's Office [official website] and the Netherlands' police agency after receiving information [Australian] that Vasilijkovic may have fled to the Netherlands.
Vasiljkovic, an Australian citizen, is accused of war crimes occurring during the 1991-1995 Croatian war of independence [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. The high court's decision to extradite overturns a September ruling by the Federal Court of Australia [official website], which held [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. 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 the high court decision. Vasiljkovic was arrested in Australia in 2006 pursuant to an extradition request [JURIST reports] from the Croatian government.