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Australia court rejects accused Serb war criminal's extradition appeal

The Federal Court of Australia [official website] on Friday rejected the appeal against extradition of accused Serbian war criminal Dragan Vasiljkovic [Trial Watch backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. For five years, Vasiljkovic has fought against extradition [AP report] from Australia to Croatia to face war crimes charges stemming from his role as a Serbian commander during the 1991-1995 Croatian war of Independence [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. With this judgment, Vasiljkovic, an Australian citizen also known as Daniel Snedden, will be extradited to Croatia, unless Australia's high court will hear his appeal. In 2007, an Australian court ordered that Vasiljkovic be handed over to Croatian authorities after he was arrested in Australia in 2006 pursuant to an extradition request [JURIST reports] from the Croatian government.

Croatia has been cracking down on suspected war criminals from the Serbo-Croatian war. In May, three former Croatian police officers were arrested [JURIST report] in connection to alleged war crimes committed against ethnic Serb civilians during the war in 1991 and 1992. Most notable among the three is Djuro Brodarac, a former police chief in the town of Sisak southeast of the capital Zagreb, who was arrested [Adnkronos International report] along with two other police officials, Vladimir Milankovic and Drago Bosnjak. The Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) [advocacy website], a rights organization in the former Yugoslav states, said that as many as 600 Serb civilians in Sisak were killed [press release, in Croatian] during the war. YIHR urged the Croatia to further investigate possible war crimes and prosecute all those responsible.

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