Alleged war criminal in Coffs

AFP officers at the Boambee house.
AFP officers at the Boambee house.

A CASE of international significance played out on the Coffs Coast yesterday as Federal police ‘stood guard’ over a Middle Boambee property believed to house an alleged war criminal.

Two plain-clothed AFP officers arrived in Coffs Harbour seeking to reportedly arrest Serbian former paramilitary unit leader ‘Captain Dragan’ Vasiljkovic  following a High Court order clearing his extradition to Croatia to face allegations of war crimes.

A high ranking Serbian commander during the Balkans War in the early 1990s, Vasiljkovic testified in the 2003 trial of Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic and has since lived in Australia under the alias Daniel Snedden.

Three years ago, Vailjkovic was first arrested living in Perth as a golf coach before spending four years in a Sydney maximum security jail without charge.

Since his release and battle against extradition, Captain Dragan has lived on the rugged Middle Boambee Creek Road property, which belongs to a family friend, Mrs Nada Lukich-Bruce.

AFP officers at the property yesterday told The Advocate Ms Lukich-Bruce did not want to comment on the matter and she would not be drawn into whether Captain Dragan had been detained.

But since Tuesday’s High Court ruling, his supporters have rallied behind him describing him as a Serbian war hero.

“Dragan still has the right to appeal to Homes Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor,” Sydney Serbian leader Iljia Glisic said yesterday.

On what Vasiljkovic can expect should he be returned to Croatia to face a war crimes trial, Glisic added: “it will be nothing more than a show trial and puts his life in danger and not with some justification.

“In the eyes of many Serbs and not just myself, he is a man of honour,” he said.

Vasiljkovic has the opportunity to make representations to the Office of Home Affairs as to why he shouldn’t be surrendered to the Croatian Government.

It is seeking to try him over the alleged torture and killing of prisoners of war and civilans claimed to have been at the hands of the Serb paramilitary unit Knind{zcaron}e (Knin ninjas, Red berets).

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