Croatia will not extradite ex-spy wanted by Germany
(ZAGREB) - Croatia said Tuesday it would not extradite a former top spy wanted by Germany, in a case many suspect prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel to snub weekend celebrations to mark Zagreb's entry into the EU.
Police chief Vlado Dominic confirmed Croatia had received a European arrest warrant for Josip Perkovic, but said: "We will not act upon it since the criminal act (he is suspected of) was committed before 2002."
Croatia's parliament last week adopted a law making the European arrest warrant valid only for crimes committed after August 2002.
The 68-year-old Perkovic, a former Yugoslav secret service agent, is suspected of involvement in the murder of Croatian dissident Stjepan Djurekovic in Germany in 1983.
The case sparked sharp debate in Croatia in the run-up to its EU entry on July 1.
Many suspect it was the main reason for Merkel skipping weekend celebrations in Zagreb that marked the country's EU entry.
Merkel herself blamed a busy schedule for her absence but local media and the opposition labelled her decision a "diplomatic slap" for the former Yugoslav republic.
Perkovic headed Croatia's military intelligence services after the country proclaimed independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.
He was also deputy defence minister during the country's 1991-1995 independence war.
Croatia's prosecutors said recently that the charges against Perkovic had expired.
On Monday, Croatia became EU's 28th member after years of laborious negotiations with Brussels.