Dragan Vasiljković, also known as “Captain Dragan”, is accused of war crimes committed in Croatia during the Homeland War.
Under substantial security measures and accompanied by a huge interest of Croatian and foreign media, a trial of Dragan Vasiljković, also known as “Captain Dragan”, started on Tuesday at the Split County Court. He is accused of war crimes against Croatian soldiers and civilians, reports Večernji List on September 20, 2016.
During the hearing, Vasiljković said to Judge Damir Romac that he understood the indictment, but that he was absolutely not guilty. “I am proud of what I did during the war. Prisoners of war had only kind words for me, but now, 25 years later, they have changed their opinion”, said Vasiljković. “I was not an aggressor or a war criminal. I defended my homeland Yugoslavia which I loved. This sea here which you say is yours, that was my sea”, he said and added that he had been imprisoned without a verdict for 11 years. He pointed out that all the witnesses were false witnesses. “I have not committed any war crimes. A crime was committed against me”, said Vasiljković.
Vasiljković has been is charged that, as commander of the Special Unit of the Serbian paramilitary forces and the commander of the Special Unit Training Centre, he acted contrary to the provisions of the Geneva Convention. The indictment alleges that in June and July 1991, in a prison at the Knin fortress, he tortured, abused and killed captured members of the Croatian Army and police. He is also accused of devising a plan of attack on a local police station in Glina. During the attack, civilian building were damaged and destroyed, population was forced to flee, and many were killed and wounded.
Vasiljković was arrested ten years ago in Australia, where he lived under a false name and worked as a golf coach. It took six years for the Australian government to make a decision on his extradition to Croatia. He was finally extradited in July 2015 and brought to the Bilice Prison in Split. Vasiljković has Serbian and Australian citizenship.
It is expected that the trial will last for many months. Prosecution will call 55 witnesses, while defence attorneys have still not presented their witnesses. The trial will continue on 18 October.