Copyright © BBC 1998
April 11, 1998
Croatia seeks extradition of Nazi in Argentina
The Croatian government is asking Argentina to hand over Dinko Sakic who admitted this week on television that he was a Nazi concentration camp commander.
The 76-year-old has been living in Argentina for the last 50 years. In the TV interview on Monday, he denied any knowledge of atrocities committed at the Jasenovac concentration camp established by Croatia's Ustasa puppet government in 1941.
He claimed that Jasenovac was a work camp and attributed to natural causes any deaths that ocurred at the camp, adding that he considered himself "a Croatian patriot."
But it is generally accepted that tens of thousands of people - mainly Serbs, Jews and gypsies - were killed, although the exact number of victims is still the subject of controversy.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Nazi-hunting organisation, puts the figure at half a million, while most Croatian scholars believe it was closer to 80,000.
The Argentine government asked justice authorities to detain Sakic on Tuesday, but he disappeared from his home in the Atlantic beach resort of Santa Teresita after giving the interview and his whereabouts are unknown.
According to a BBC correspondent in South America, it is unlikely he could be tried in an Argentine court, but Justice Minister Raul Granillo Ocampo has already said that "if some country asks for his extradition, I don't think it will be denied."
Jasenovac has remained a black mark in the history of Croatia, which is still struggling to come to terms with the fascist and anti-fascist strains of its past.
President Franjo Tudjman has said there were "wrongdoings" by the-then Nazi puppet state during World War II and has apologised to Jews for their suffering. But his opponents accuse him of cultivating the kind of ultra-nationalism that prevailed during that war.