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Dual-citizenship war criminal loses extradition case

A Serbian-Australian citizen has again lost an appeal against an extradition that would see him face charges of war crimes in Croatia.

Dragan Vasiljkovic, nicknamed "Captain Dragan", was the founder of a paramilitary unit the “Knindze” also known as the “Knin Ninjas” or “Red Berets”. He is accused of torturing and killing Croatian civilians and prisoners of war during the Balkan conflict in the 1990s.

See report by The Australian here.

Australia’s Federal Court upheld an earlier November 2010 ruling stating that, 

“There was no obvious, or even readily apparent, basis on which the view might be that the primary judge erred”.

The decision was cautiously welcomed by the prosecution as the defendant still has a further chance to appeal against the decision.

It has been a long drawn out battle after Croatia first filed an extradition request in 2006, which has seen Vasiljkovic jailed after he skipped bail and was found living in a yacht. He was first arrested in Western Australia under an assumed name and living with supporters in Boambee.

If he is sent to Croatia, Vasiljkovic would be the first war crimes suspect to be extradited from Australia.

See our earlier post: ‘Suspected war criminal loses libel case’ (Sep 2011)