Las Vegas grocer deported over Bosnian war crimes allegations
Friday 25 May 2012
A man accused of commanding a police squad that rounded up Bosnian Muslims for slaughter in 1995 fashioned a new life in Las Vegas as a modest grocery store owner before being arrested and deported to his native country, a lawyer and US officials said yesterday.
Dejan Radojkovic arrived in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, after an overnight commercial airline flight from Las Vegas accompanied by federal agents, Bosnian authorities and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.
Radojkovic's lawyer in Las Vegas, Don Chairez, denied any evidence links the 61-year-old man — a permanent US resident and father of two — with the execution of Muslim boys and men in an event considered Europe's bloodiest mass killing since World War II.
"He is not a war criminal," Chairez told The Associated Press. "There is no evidence that Mr. Radojkovic ever killed anybody."
Prosecutors allege Radojkovic commanded a special police brigade that rounded up about 200 Muslim men in July 1995 in the Konjevic Polje region for execution, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement statement said.
Chairez said Radojkovic's national guard unit accepted the surrender of about 200 enemy soldiers and turned them over to Bosnian Serb forces. Chairez said Radojkovic didn't know the men would be killed.
Radojkovic was arrested in January 2009 for failing to disclose his wartime history when he entered the US, said Nicole Navas, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman in Washington, DC.
Documents identify him as an ethnic Serbian refugee. An immigration judge in late 2009 ordered him deported on multiple grounds, finding that he ordered or participated in "extrajudicial killing."
Court documents show Radojkovic was accused of failing to report that he had been a squad commander in the Republika Srpska Special Police Squad.
US and Bosnian authorities said Radojkovic was handed over yesterday to police at the Sarajevo airport for prosecution based on evidence collected by investigators from the ICE Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague and prosecutors from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
"He's wanted on genocide charges," Navas said.
"For the families who lost loved ones at Srebrenica, justice has been a long time coming," Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said in a statement announcing Radojkovic's deportation. "But they can take consolation in the fact that those responsible for this tragedy are now being held accountable."
Morton promised to ensure the U.S. "does not serve as a haven for human rights violators and others who have committed heinous acts."
The Immigration and Customs chief also pointed to the January 2010 deportation to Bosnia-Herzegovina of Nedjo Ikonic, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, resident identified as another former special police commander linked to the Srebrenica massacre.
Ikonic was Radojkovic's police commander, Navas said.
Authorities preparing for the trial of former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic on war crimes charges at The Hague, Netherlands, said this month the remains of almost 6,000 people had been exhumed from mass graves in the Srebrenica area. Estimates of the dead run as high as 8,000.
Mladic is standing trial before the military war tribunal on wider charges stemming from atrocities during a process dubbed "ethnic cleansing." Bosnia's 1992-95 war following the breakup of the former Soviet republic of Yugoslavia left more than 100,000 dead.
Court documents show Radojkovic and his family were granted refugee status and admitted to the United States in June 1999. Radojkovic's wife, Radojka Radojkovic, died in a car crash in Las Vegas in September 2000. A newspaper obituary said she was 43.
Radojkovic's daughter, Ranka Shaw, divorced and moved last year to Bosnia, Chairez said. A son, Ranko Radojkovic, lives in Las Vegas. Neither immediately responded to messages through Chairez.
Radojkovic became a permanent U.S. resident in January 2002. Chairez said Radojkovic used money from an insurance settlement following the crash to open the grocery, which sold food, tobacco, sundries and videos. The business closed after Radojkovic was arrested in January 2009. He remained in U.S. custody for more than three years.
Chairez said Radojkovic had been a police dog trainer in Sarajevo before the breakup of Yugoslavia and was drafted by the Bosnian Serbian military after the war began.
Radojkovic testified in Milwaukee against Ikonic, who Chairez said commanded three police units, including Radojkovic's.
"The government merely alleges that as an individual who was part of a group that accepted the surrender of these enemy soldiers, it is presumed that Radojkovic should have known that the Bosnian-Serbian military forces were likely to kill them," Chairez protested in an appeal to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
The Muslim soldiers were loaded on buses and driven away, the lawyer said. "There is no evidence and there is no allegation that Radojkovic shot and killed a single prisoner."
The appeals court in February denied Chairez's appeal, clearing the way for Radojkovic's deportation.
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart bromance continues: X-Men star gushes about 'pussy cat' BFF Patrick Stewart
David Cameron stung by jellyfish: PM hurt after ignoring advice of locals while on holiday
South Korea ferry: Vice principal rescued from sinking ship found hanged
Hollande's affair: Catherine Deneuve and Sophie Marceau in war of words over President's relationship with Julie Gayet
Kim Jong-un, crowds and contraband kit: Inside North Korea with the the Pyongyang marathon winner
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 KFC 'sorry' after lesbian couple are kicked out of Bath restaurant for 'heavy petting'
- 2 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
- 5 PFA Player of the Year: Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard all nominated as Liverpool dominate award shortlist
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...