Croatia indicts Serb paramilitary commander for war crimes

by Reuters
Friday, 8 January 2016 14:06 GMT

ZAGREB, Jan 8 (Reuters) - A former Serb paramilitary commander who became a golf instructor in Australia was indicted by a Croatian court on Friday for torturing and killing Croatian soldiers and civilians during Zagreb's 1991-95 war of independence.

The indictment comes nearly six months after Dragan Vasiljkovic, known as Captain Dragan, lost a nine-year battle to block his extradition to Croatia from Australia, which took place in July.

He is charged with violating the Geneva Conventions by torturing and killing captive Croatian soldiers and police in the Serb rebel stronghold of Knin in June and July 1991 and in Bruska in February 1993, the county prosecutor's office in the coastal city of Split said in a statement.

Vasiljkovic is also accused of drawing up a plan to attack the police station in Glina and neighbouring villages in July 1991.

"During the attack, civilian buildings were damaged or destroyed, the population was forced to flee, property was looted and civilians were killed or wounded, including a foreign journalist," the office added.

Vasiljkovic, who holds dual Serbian and Australian citizenship, was arrested by police in Australia in 2006 on a warrant issued by Croatia. At the time, he worked as a golf instructor in Perth under the name Daniel Snedden.

Croatia declared independence from communist Yugoslavia in 1991, but its Serb minority, backed by Belgrade, rebelled and seized a third of the country by force. Croatia crushed the rebellion in 1995. It became a member of the European Union in 2013. (Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Matt Robinson and Dominic Evans)

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