Man told to lie about Vasiljkovic: court
22nd December 2006, 14:18 WST
Croatian intelligence officers asked a Serbian man to falsely say he saw accused war criminal Dragan Vasiljkovic "hitting and slapping prisoners", a Sydney court has been told.
Croatia is seeking the extradition of Vasiljkovic from Australia over his alleged involvement in war crimes between 1991 and 1993.
Vasiljkovic, an Australian citizen known to his supporters as Captain Dragan, is accused of killing civilians and instructing others to commit murder during his time as a commander of the Alpha group of Serb paramilitary troops.
He is also alleged to have fired upon a civilian city and kicked a person in the head causing brain bleeding.
Serbian mechanical engineer Nikola Bajic on Friday gave evidence to Vasiljkovic's extradition hearing via telephone from Italy.
The former communications officer at the Alpha military training ground was arrested at his home, which borders Croatia and Bosnia, in August this year, he told Central Local Court through an interpreter.
Mr Bajic said he did not know why he was arrested, but that two Croatian intelligence officers told him they would look after him if he gave evidence Vasiljkovic had abused prisoners.
"They asked me to say that I saw Captain Dragan hitting prisoners," he said.
"They said 'we are asking you to say that you have seen Captain Dragan hitting prisoners'.
"I said this is not true."
Mr Bajic said the officers offered him incentives to make the claims.
"We want you to say that you have seen Captain Dragan hitting and slapping prisoners and in return we will employ you, find employment for yourself, find employment for your wife," he said the men told him.
Under cross-examination from Stephen Lloyd, who is acting for Croatia, Mr Bajic denied he was making up the claims to help Vasiljkovic.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Paul Cloran will hand down a decision on Croatia's extradition bid on March 22.