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ZAGREB (Reuters) - A Croatian court on Tuesday sentenced a Serb former paramilitary commander to 15 years in prison for torturing and killing soldiers and civilians during Croatia's 1991-95 independence war.

Dragan Vasiljkovic, 62, who has dual Serbian and Australian citizenship, was charged with violating the Geneva Convention by torturing and killing captive Croatian soldiers and police in the rebel stronghold of Knin and for crimes near the towns of Glina and Benkovac in 1991 and 1993.

Vasiljkovic, whose trial in the Adriatic city of Split took one year, denied he had committed any crimes and can file an appeal.

He was extradited to Croatia in 2015 after losing a nine-year battle to block extradition. He had been living in Perth

and working as a golf instructor under the name Daniel Snedden.

Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 but its Serb minority, backed by Belgrade, seized a third of the country by force. Croatia retook its occupied territory in a 1995 offensive.

(Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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