A former Serb commander accused of war crimes in the Balkans was being hunted by Australian police yesterday after disappearing in the wake of a court ruling that he could be extradited to Croatia.
Dragan Vasiljkovic, 55, an Australian who also has Serbian citizenship, lost a four-year legal battle on Tuesday when Australia’s High Court approved his extradition and reinstated a 2006 warrant for his arrest.
Croatia holds Vasiljkovic, whose Australian name is Daniel Snedden, responsible for torturing and killing Croat soldiers and civilians, as well as a foreign journalist, when he commanded a Serb paramilitary unit during Croatia’s 1991-1995 independence war.
“Mr Snedden is now required to be committed to prison to await the Minister for Home Affairs’ final determination whether or not to surrender him to Croatia to face prosecution for war crimes offences,” a spokeswoman for Australia’s Attorney-General Robert McClelland said.
Vasiljkovic, known as “Captain Dragan” during the war in Croatia, won an earlier appeal against extradition when a lower court found he had grounds for believing he could be punished or imprisoned because of his nationality or political opinions.
Last week, the presidents of Croatia and Serbia promised a new era in relations, effectively resuming ties after a year of silent hostility.
On Wednesday, Serbia’s parliament apologized for the 1995 killing of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in the eastern enclave of Srebrenica, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War Two.
Police were yesterday searching Vasiljkovic’s last known residence in the town of Boambee, north of Sydney. Vasiljkovic did not attend the court and police had no power to arrest him until after the High Court ruling.
Australian Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor and McClelland will have the last say on whether Vasiljkovic will be extradited to Croatia.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
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The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big