Australia extradites former Serb commander for trial in Croatia

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 09, 2015 6:44 AM

ZAGREB (Reuters) - A former Serb commander accused of war crimes in Croatia in the 1990s arrived in Zagreb on Thursday to face trial, after losing a nine-year battle to block his extradition from Australia, Croatian state radio reported.

It said Dragan Vasiljkovic had landed at airport in Zagreb, Croatia's capital, accompanied by Croatian policemen.

"He will be handed over to the Croatian judiciary and the rest will be the usual procedure," Justice Minister Orsat Miljenic told reporters.

Vasiljkovic, who has Serbian and Australian citizenship, was arrested by police in Australia in 2006, on a warrant from Croatia. At the time, he worked as a golf instructor in Perth under his Australian name, Daniel Snedden.

Croatia holds Vasiljkovic responsible for torturing and killing Croat soldiers and civilians when he commanded a Serb paramilitary unit during Zagreb's 1991-95 war of independence against its rebel Serb minority.

Vasiljkovic has admitted to serving with the Serb troops, where he was known as 'Captain Dragan', but has denied all war crimes allegations.

Croatia declared independence from communist Yugoslavia in 1991, but its Serb minority, backed by Belgrade, rebelled and seized a third of the country by force. Croatia crushed the rebellion in 1995.

(Reporting by Zoran Radosavljevic; Editing by)