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Croatia extradites ex-spy chief to Germany

The Supreme Court of Croatia [official website, in Croatian] on Friday upheld a lower court's ruling [JURIST report] that former Yugoslav secret service official Josip Perkovic could be extradited to Germany where he has been implicated in the 1983 murder of a Yugoslav dissident. Perkovic, who helped create Croatia's Security and Intelligence Agency [official website] in the 1990s, has repeatedly denied [AP report] involvement in the murder of Stjepan Djurekovic, a Croatian nationalist who had fled the country to Germany where he was killed. Germany issued an international arrest warrant for Perkovic in 2005, but Croatia refused to extradite him. Before joining the EU in July, the government of Croatia changed its laws to prevent the extradition of suspects in crimes committed before 2002, to protect veterans from the Croatian War for Independence [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. However, in August, when the European Commission warned that the country could face legal action [JURIST report] for not complying with EU extradition standards, the government removed the time restriction. Perkovic denies any wrongdoing and is expected to appeal the decision. German federal prosecutors expect Perkovic to be brought before a judge by Saturday where they will determine if he is to be held in custody while a formal indictment is pending.

Croatia has faced criticism in recent years for the alleged slow pace that it has taken in investigating war crimes committed during the Croatian War of Independence. Croatia approved the extradition order [JURIST report] for Petrovic earlier this month. The Croatian government agreed to bring their extradition law in line with EU standards in August after facing the threat of legal sanctions [JURIST reports] from the European Commission [official website]. Croatia joined the EU in July after 66% of the population voted in favor of the referendum [JURIST report] in January 2012.

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