Accused War Criminal Fails Last Ditch Effort To Avoid Extradition To Croatia

 

DRagan Vasiljkovic Captain DRagan Daniel Snedden

Serb national and Australian citizen (who migrated to Australia at the age of 14) Dragan Vasiljkovic, 60, also known as Captain Dragan, who has lived in Australia under the name of Daniel Snedden, is a man wanted by Croatia on charges of war crimes committed during the 1990’s war. On Friday 15 May 2015 Dragan Vasiljkovic had finally, after close to  a decade of utilising every legal avenue available to him, run out of all legal options to fight extradition to Croatia – the High Court of Australia denied Vasiljkovic the leave to appeal the orders for extradition that were confirmed last year.
In denying him a High Court appeal on Friday May 15, Justice Kenneth Hayne of High Court of Australia Melbourne Registry, said an appeal “would not enjoy sufficient chance of success“.

 

Vasiljkovic’s lawyers say his final hope now is a change of heart by the Australian government. There’s not much chance of that for the government had made decisions to extradite Vasiljkovic to Croatia before and the ABC news reports that the Australian government had issued a statement this week indicating it will be following through with extradition.

 

Vasiljkovic, who was arrested by Australian police in Sydney in January 2006, was charged with war crimes, including commanding troops that tortured and killed prisoners of war, commanding an assault on the Croatian town of Glina which saw civilians killed, and breaching the Geneva Convention during an assault northeast of Benkovac when civil buildings were damaged and ruined, Croatians were forced to leave their homes, their property robbed and civilians (among them was a foreign journalist) were wounded and killed; led a paramilitary unit that terrorised the local Croatian population and is alleged to have tortured prisoners of war in a medieval fortress near the town of Knin…

 

Denying the allegations against him, he had been fighting extradition while in prison in Australia, pending the outcomes of extradition to Croatia legal battles, saying that he will not be protected under the Geneva Convention if brought before a Croatian court; that he would not have a fair trial in Croatia.
Vasiljkovic’s Australian lawyers will reportedly be seeking that if extradited (which is a certainty as far as I can see) years spent in prison in Australia be counted in any sentencing discount in Croatia and that he will be safe if deported to stand trial in the capital city of Zagreb.
One thing he can count on is safety and fair trial for it is in the interest of his alleged victims that justice is done and Croatian judiciary is well aware of that. Furthermore, Croatian courts have had ample opportunities to deliver just verdicts and conduct fair trials in numbers of similar cases over the past decade or so.

 

 

It’s been reported that Vasiljkovic’s criminal rampage did not stop in Croatia, against Croats – he had Bosniaks in his sights too. In evidence, in 2009, before a defamation case Vasiljkovic (Snedden) had launched against The Australian newspaper (and lost the case), a Bosnian woman accused him of repeatedly raping her in Zvornik (close to Srebrenica), northern Bosnia, in 1992. The woman, who travelled to Sydney in April 2009 to testify in the NSW Supreme Court along with several Croatian men allegedly imprisoned and tortured by Vasiljkovic, identified him in court as the ”Captain Dragan” who repeatedly raped her and watched as other soldiers did so also.

 

 

In this landmark civil judgment, The Australian newspaper had in 2009 successfully defended the defamation action brought against it by Vasiljkovic – under the name Daniel Snedden – after the publication of an article in 2005 that detailed the horrors he was said to have committed in the former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina) during the so-called Balkans conflict.
Nationwide News, publisher of The Australian newspaper, ran a de facto war crimes hearing in which it proved, on the balance of probabilities, the substantive truth of matters contained in the allegedly defamatory newspaper article.

 

Judge Megan Latham found December 18, 2009, Nationwide News had proven a raft of allegations made against Vasiljkovic, including that he repeatedly raped a woman in Zvornik, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1992; that he had admitted committing a massacre in July 1991 to a journalist from London’s The Times; and that he had personally committed the war crime of torture as well as condoning such crimes by troops under his command.

The systematic abuse, humiliation and deprivation visited upon those whom the plaintiff (Vasiljkovic) sought to punish and subdue at the Knin fortress, the old hospital prison and the Sremska Mitrovica prison, was consistent with (his) stated aim to drive out non-Serbs from the Krajina,” Justice Latham found in her judgment.
It was in his reactions to this defamation case and its findings that Graeme Blewitt, the former deputy chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said he was confident a fair trial could be conducted in Croatia given the number of similar cases heard in recent years.
According to The Australian, former war crimes prosecutors welcomed the 2009 defamation case verdict and demanded the Australian government find a way to prosecute Vasiljkovic should his extradition to Croatia not proceed.

 

But extradition will proceed. We no longer need to fret for justice and keep asking: will he or won’t he face the court to answer to the charges of atrocities in Croatia. Vasiljkovic was a most active paramilitary campaigner for the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina that terrorised, murdered, raped, tortured, ethnically cleansed, and pillaged a large section of Croatia, liberated in August 1995 in Operation Storm. Until a court verdict on alleged war crimes Captain Dragan remains a notorious figure of the 1990’s bloody and criminal attempts at extending the borders for “Greater Serbia” into Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. Hurrah.!! A fair trial and a just punishment I hope.Hanging.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Can’t wait for it all to end, David. It’s been truly sickening watching him trying every trick in the book to avoid extradition and face the court. Every time reminders of horrors the victims went through came rushing in, intolerable often.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wouldn’t you say that his long battle with extradition is pretty much his confession of guilt? He deserves to take responsibility for his own actions.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. annathrax says:

    I remember this unpleasant awful man (moderated). Hope he gets what he deserves.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m so pleased to read this. He’ll never get what he deserves but I hope they come close when they sentence him in The Hague.
    I hope this will help a little to heal the wounds he caused.
    🙂

    Like

    • The Hague did a “boo-boo” in his case, Christopher. It stopped investigating him back in 2005 reportedly because the ICTY “had no time, it;’s mandate was to end” etc. The Hague Tribunal had named Vasiljković as a “participant in a joint criminal enterprise” against Croats and other non-Serbs in the Milan Martic decision, but did not request Vasiljkovic’s arrest. One often wonders about the madness of the international criminal tribunal. But, never mind, Croatia will do the Hague’s job

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for correcting my error. I’m looking forward to your post about his verdict. I hope this won’t be a drawn out affair. It amazes me how long such public criminals can evade justice.
        Best
        Christoph

        Like

      • All good Christopher, it would have been natural that he ended up in the Hague but political tricks and evasions sneak up…the Supreme Court of NSW in Australia heard the defamation case he mounted against The Australian newspapers that had in 2005 published an article so to let Australians know that he was back in Australia and what atrocities he was said to have committed in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina etc – the hearing was more like a war crimes court hearing than defamation – much proven but of course under civil standards of evidence so can’t wait for the proper one in Croatia…will certainly be following it closely

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you very much, Ina, for this very interesting information.

        Like

      • You’re so welcome, Martina – thank YOU!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t think justice systems understand the gravity of pain that lingers as they take pigeon steps forward. Their sympathy is misplaced in providing this man with every option when his victims had none.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Helena, it is so unfair and painful to all decent people as well as victims to watch the seemingly endless steps one can take in what’s called due process while victims had none and their due process should be swift and just due process for accused perpetrator. Thank you

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The lengths this man has gone to, to avoid extradition demonstrates that he is a coward. Most war criminals are. I hope that extradition goes smoothly and that he reaps his just reward here on earth – for he certainly will in the hereafter.

    Like

    • I will breathe a sigh of relief, Noelle, once extradition is over – watching him employ every trick in the book to avoid facing the court is sickening

      Like

  7. Michael Silovic says:

    While I am happy for the extradition I would have preferred to seen this scum taken down like a dog a long time ago rather then have to watch this filth get a fair trial and justice unlike those he murdered and did other horrible things to. There are many more like him who need to be dealt with in other manners then in a court system who have been playing games with these people while the victims still suffer. trying to bite my tongue here.

    Like

    • The sentiment is shared manifold, I’m sure Michael. It takes great deal self-discipline not to do to such scum what they’re said to have done to others. In cases like this when found guilty they should find the capital punishment again. Loathe to think like that but logic dictates on its own

      Like

  8. SerbbeingHonest says:

    Vasiljkovic and his forces captured the city of Zvornik in april 1992, to commit what is now known as the Zvornik massacre with 4000 Bosniak civilians killed and many other raped. Disgusting I hate men and Serbs like him they are the ones who destroyed the image of Serbs and any unity feeling in the Balkan. What he reportedly did in Zvornik was genocide! the mass killings was not even a thing the Serbs tried to hide they did it in the open shooting females and children while Western journalists took photos of it yet no one in Europe did anything to help the people of Zvornik. In Zvornik it was old ladies and children who were killed most since they were too weak to run away from the city. They mass raped the females from the 8 year old to grand mothers in the hotel of the city. This was what he is said to have done or men under his command raping children and shooting them in the back. It has been reported that they also took the eyes out of a croatian boy with a knife and forced him to walk around in the forests in Bosnia. I was recently in Bosnia and all my former Bosniak neigbors and friends from before the war refused to greet me and they have every right to do that The Serbs did ugly things in that war and now we are all being punished by sharing nationality with the likes of Vasiljkovic.

    Like

    • Such allegations reflect terrible crimes that did occur indeed, SerbbeingHonest. I hope Bosnia and Herzegovina gets to bring him to court too. Zvornik was such a tragedy, just as Srebrenica was and all over – I guess Croatia was much stronger in that it managed to stop the Serb occupation and killing by liberating the Serb-occupied zones while in Bosnia and Herzegovina Serb butchers were rewarded with Serbian Republic ethnically cleansed territory they rule over. How absolutely unacceptable!

      Like

      • SerbbeingHonest says:

        Ina Vukic

        Croatia was much smarter by arming themself before declaring the indepedence. Unlike Bosnia who got armed during the war. And another big thing was that Bosniak men all over Bosnia refused to mobilze in the Federal army aganist Croatia in the summer of 1991. The Serbs looked forward to focus all their army energy aganist Croatia, but SDA party declared indepedence which meant 80000 Serb troops had to be removed from Croatia and fight aganist the Bosniaks. In the summer of 1995 100 Serb tanks that was fighting the croatian army in southern Croatia had to be removed and attack the the Bosniak army who was on the offensive. In Bosnia 6000 Croat civilians was killed by the Serb army. I am anti Facist Serb and people like me has to speak up about the truth during the 1990s. They killed my dear Croatian friend a wonderful lady who was always happy and nice, she had been deported by force from Banja Luka with her 4 children the Serb troops took them out of the bus and shoot them may the rest in peace. The bus was very close to areas controlled by the Bosniak army she and children had almost made it.

        Like

      • It is generally known that the “federal army” i.e. Yugoslav Peoples Army, that went against Croatia and then Bosnia and Herzegovina was made up mainly of Serbs and Montenegrins, SerbbeingHonest, as to Bosnia and Herzegovina its president Izetbegovic did sit on the fence early on leaning often at times towards preserving Yugoslavia

        Like

  9. When It comes to war crimes, which might involve violence, torture, even genocide , I don´t think that there should be procedural guarantees as if we are trying with a regular citizen. I think the judiciary system might show glitches when it comes to these rough issues… Great post dear In A.. Best wishes, Aquileana 😀

    Like

  10. Great article,justice will always prevail .Regards.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Veronika says:

    If this monster does not face justice on earth. God willing he does. I hope there is a special place in hell for him.
    What is abominable are the useful idiots, Serb and non-Serbs, who support him: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/barry-ofarrell-lobbies-for-war-crimes-accused-dragan-vasiljkovic/story-e6freuzi-1225952345891

    Like

    • There’s a Serb strong lobby in Australia, Veronika, I do believe but not all important politicians are affected by it especially when it comes to matters such as Captain Dragan and avoidance of court for war crimes. Might be worth knowing that O’Farrell from the article you linked has come down from politics and as Premier in disgrace over a bottle of Grange wine (worth more than $3,000) given to him as “gift” and he denied to anti-corruption commission in 2014 that it was given to him by a business holding.

      Like

  12. I pray just will be given. What a long haul !

    Like

  13. wow … over 25yrs

    Like

    • Yes it’s been aalmost 25 years since his criminal rampages, Nativegrl and almost ten out that of him fighting extradition and justice, but now that will finally open up the doors to final justice

      Like

  14. Justice? Let’s hope so.

    Like

  15. a step in the right direction! thank you Ina.

    Like

  16. I remember ‘Captain Dragon’. It’s good news to hear he is likely to be finally extradited. What a coward to have returned back to Australia to hide. Any updates?

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. […] any money as compensation from Dragan Vasiljkovic (a.k.a. Captain Dragan and Daniel Snedden) who had been extradited to Croatia from Australia last week to face war crimes charges (including torture in the Serb-run concentration camps) as he has been reported to be bankrupt […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] any money as compensation from Dragan Vasiljkovic (a.k.a. Captain Dragan and Daniel Snedden) who had been extradited to Croatia from Australia last week to face war crimes charges (including torture in the Serb-run concentration camps) as he has been reported to be bankrupt […]

    Liked by 1 person

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