Captain Dragan Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

By 26 September 2017

Dragan Vasiljković was found guilty of war crimes committed against Croatian soldiers and civilians.

Dragan Vasiljković, known as Captain Dragan, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after a year-long trial in Split, Jutarnji list reports on September 26, 2017.

Vasiljković was accused of violating the Geneva Convention as the commander of a paramilitary Serbian unit (Knindžas) and leader of a training camp. He was also accused of torturing, beating and killing captured members of Croatian Army and Police between June and July 1991 in a prison on the fortress in Knin and at Bruška near Benkovac in February 1993.

In addition, he is also accused of for making plans to attack and take over the Glina Police station, a near city village Jukince and the villages Gornji and Donji Viduševac, in agreement with the commander of the tank unit JNA.
Civil buildings were damaged and ruined in the process, Croatian citizens' property was robbed and civilians were wounded and killed, including a foreign journalist.

Since the first day of trial, September 20, 2016, until the closing statement last week, he stated that he did not feel guilty of the war crimes that they allege he committed, claiming that the witnesses were lying and that he was only defending his homeland, Yugoslavia, which he had loved dearly.

He also denied hiding in Australia, stating that he was proud of his war path and Knindžas, and that “no members of the unit have been accused of any crimes.” He said that he had changed his first and last name in Australia because it was difficult for Australians to pronounce it. He made the court laugh by saying that, in addition to Ante Gotovina, Australian Croats also have his portrait in their homes.

Around 60 witnesses were heard during the trial, half of them from Serbia, via a video link, and the case is 40,000 pages long.

Captain Dragan has dual Australian and Serbian citizenship and he was arrested 11 years ago in Australia, where he lived under a false name (Daniel Snedden), working as a golf trainer. He was extradited to Croatia in July 2015.

Translated from Jutarnji list.