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U.S. To Deport Man Charged With Participating In Srebrenica Massacre

A view of the memorial wall with the names of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre
A view of the memorial wall with the names of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre

A man accused of serving with a paramilitary unit that participated in the 1995 Serbian massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims will be deported from the United States under a plea deal announced in a U.S. court on December 7.

The U.S. government last year accused Oliver Dragic, an immigrant who resides in the state of Ohio, of failing to disclose that he served in a special police unit in Bosnia and fraudulently gaining entry to the United States as a refugee in 1998, when he claimed to be a victim of the war.

Dragic, 42, is the latest of several men in northern Ohio who prosecutors have charged in recent years with concealing their involvement in the Bosnian war to enter the United States.

Dragic admitted making false statements, but denied he was involved the massacre of Muslim men and boys near Srebrenica in 1995, which is considered the worst mass killing on European soil since World War II

The U.S. government alleged that Dragic's police unit was deployed around Srebrenica to find survivors and prevent their escape. Last year he was charged with fraudulently obtaining his permanent U.S. resident status in 2001 by claiming to be a refugee.

In pleading guilty to some of the charges on December 7, Dragic agreed to be deported to Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was also sentenced to time served in jail since his arrest in August 2016.

Dragic is pleased with the outcome of his case, said his attorney, Darin Thompson, a public defender.

"He looks forward to reestablishing life for himself and mother in his home country of Bosnia," Thompson said.

The vetting of refugees has become a top political issue since U.S. President Donald Trump took office with a goal of sharply cutting refugee admissions and enacting stricter background checks.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters