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Vegas grocer accused of war crimes

A man accused of commanding a police squad that rounded up Bosnian Muslims for slaughter in 1995 made a new life in Las Vegas as a modest grocery shop owner before being arrested and deported to his native country, US officials said.

Dejan Radojkovic, 61, arrived in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, after an overnight commercial flight from Las Vegas accompanied by federal agents, Bosnian authorities and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Radojkovic's lawyer in Las Vegas, Don Chairez, denied any evidence linked the 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 the Second World War. "He is not a war criminal," Mr Chairez said. "There is no evidence that Mr Radojkovic ever killed anybody."

Prosecutors say Radojkovic commanded a special police brigade that rounded up about 200 Muslim men in July 1995 in the Konjevic Polje region for execution. Mr Chairez said Radojkovic's national guard unit accepted the surrender of about 200 enemy soldiers and turned them over to Bosnian Serb forces, but Radojkovic did not 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 commander in the Republika Srpska Special Police Squad.

US and Bosnian authorities said Radojkovic was handed over to police at the Sarajevo airport on Thursday for prosecution based on evidence collected by investigators from the ICE Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Centre, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague and prosecutors from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bosnia's 1992-95 war following the break-up 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 died in a car crash in Las Vegas in September 2000. A newspaper obituary said she was 43. His daughter, Ranka Shaw, divorced and moved last year to Bosnia, Mr Chairez said. A son, Ranko Radojkovic, lives in Las Vegas.

Radojkovic, who became a permanent US resident in January 2002, used money from an insurance settlement following the crash to open the grocery shop, Mr Chairez said. The business closed after Radojkovic was arrested in January 2009. He remained in US custody for more than three years.


From Belfast Telegraph