A Serbian war crimes suspect known as “Captain Dragan” is believed to be the first accused war criminal extradited by Australia.
Dragan Vasiljkovic, an Australian citizen also known as Daniel Snedden, was surrendered to Croatia on Wednesday, the federal attorney-general’s department said in a statement.
Vasiljkovic is wanted in Croatia to face prosecution for three war crimes offences allegedly committed during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia.
It is alleged he ordered the killing of prisoners of war and led an assault on a village where civilians were killed during the 1990s Balkan war.
The Serbian-born Vasiljkovic has previously denied accusations he killed Croatians as a paramilitary commander, known as Captain Dragan, with the Krajina Serbs between 1991 and 1995.
He was provisionally arrested in January 2006 and has tried to fight extradition 13 times.
He ran out of legal options in May after being refused an appeal to the High Court.
Vasiljkovic’s lawyer Dan Mori was unaware on Wednesday that his client had been extradited, with a spokeswoman telling AAP the government did not inform him of his client’s movement.
His Croatian lawyer, Darko Stanich, expected to meet his client on Thursday following the transfer from Sydney to Zagreb.
“The fact is that he is the first Australian citizen to be extradited to another country, for now, without final judgment,” Mr Stanich told SBS radio.
He said Vasiljkovic was entitled to be seen as innocent until proven guilty in a court.
The department would not comment further, saying criminal proceedings against Vasiljkovic were a matter for Croatian authorities.