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Friday, January 20, 2006

Accused Serb war criminal arrested in Australia
Krystal MacIntyre at 11:21 AM ET

[JURIST] Former Serb commander Dragan Vasiljkovic was arrested [press release] in Australia [JURIST news archive] Thursday at the request of the Croatian government, who want to prosecute Vasiljkovic for war crimes committed during Croatia's 1991-1995 independence war. Vasiljkovic, now a citizen of Australia, is accused of torturing and killing Croat soldiers, civilians and prisoners of war and of involvement in the forced expulsion of entire villages in Serb-held territories in southern Croatia while he commanded a Serb paramilitary unit. Croatia [JURIST news archive] now has 60 days to make a request for Vasiljkovic's extradition [JURIST report], and Croatian Justice Minister Vesna Skare Ozbolt has said she plans to formally request his extradition next week. Former International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia deputy prosecutor Graham Blewitt said in December that Australia has become a safe haven for war criminals [JURIST report] avoiding prosecution because more than 30 suspected war criminals have been granted temporary residency there. Reuters has more. The Australian has local coverage.

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