Croatia wants to extradite from Argentina the commander of a World War II concentration camp and put him on trial, national radio reported Saturday.
Justice Minister Miroslav Separovic said Friday he had ordered the start of legal and diplomatic procedures permitting the return of Dinko Sakic.Argentine President Carlos Menem, who on Thursday ordered police to detain Sakic, has indicated he would not oppose his return to Croatia.
Sakic, 76, was an army captain at Jasenovac concentration camp, 60 miles southeast of Zagreb, where Serbs, Gypsies, Jews and insurgent Croats were killed under Croatian dictator Ante Pavelic, a wartime ally of Nazi Germany.
There are no exact figures for the number of victims. President Franjo Tudjman has said the number was 35,000. The U.S. Justice Department has put it at 125,000, and camp survivors have said it was closer to 500,000.
In a television interview last week in Buenos Aires, Sakic acknowledged that he was a commander at the camp but said "nothing happened in Jasenovac."
"It was a work camp where the Jews managed themselves. We never put a hand on any of the prisoners in the camp. The people died of natural death," he said. "There was a typhus epidemic, for example, but there were no cremation ovens that killed anybody."
Until the interview, Sakic had lived in Argentina since 1947.