A spokesperson for the Australian Minister for Justice [official website] said Saturday that he has approved the extradition of Serbian war crimes suspect, Dragan Vasiljkovic [Trial Watch backgrounder], to Croatia. Vasiljkovic is accused of torturing and killing captured members of the Croatian army and police during the 1991-1995 Croatian War for Independence [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. The spokesperson stated [AFP report] that the minister has determined that Vasiljkovic should be surrendered to face prosecution and that he could seek review of the decision. Vasiljakovic denies the allegations and is preparing an appeal to the Federal Court to challenge his extradition.
The decision by the Minister for Justice came after a 13-month review of the case. Vasiljkovic was first arrested [JURIST report] in Australia in 2006 following an extradition request from the Croatian government. He has been fighting his extradition in the Australian courts ever since, claiming that he would not be able to receive a fair trial in Croatia. Under pressure from the UN, Croatia has been attempting to address [JURIST report] human rights abuses from its war for independence before it joins the EU in July 2013.