Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Croatia / Serbia / Australia

Serbian 'War Criminal' Dragan Vasiljkovic to Face Trial in Croatia
By Anne Barrowclough
The Times, March 30, 2010
"An alleged Serbian war criminal is to be extradited from Australia to face a war crimes tribunal after the Croatian Government won an extradition appeal today. The ruling marks the end of a four-year-long battle by Dragan Vasiljkovic, 55, a former Serbian paramilitary leader, to avoid being returned to Croatia to face charges of murder and torture allegedly committed during the Balkans conflict between 1991 and 1993. Mr. Vasiljkovic was living in Perth and working as a golf professional when he was arrested by the Australian Federal Police in January 2006 after an extradition request by Croatia. The Australian Federal Court ruled in December last year that Mr. Vasiljkovic, who is an Australian citizen, could not be extradited because his political beliefs would result in his not receiving a fair trial. That decision was today overturned in the High Court in Canberra, clearing the way for him to be returned to Croatia. While in prison, Mr. Vasiljkovic attempted to sue The Australian newspaper for an article, published in 2005, which accused him of being a war criminal. The defamation trial backfired on the former soldier, turning into a de facto war crimes tribunal as witness after witness apeared in court to detail crimes including rape, torture and massacre allegedly committed by Mr. Vasiljkovic while he was commander of the paramilitary unit known as the Red Berets. [...]"

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