Canada Refuses To Extradite Croatian War Criminal
The Osijek County Court has sentenced Josip Budimcic to 15 years in prison for war crimes committed in 1991.
Javno.hr – Zagreb,Croatia
November 26, 2008
Josip Budimcic, who was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison for war crimes in 1995 in Croatia, will remain in Canada. The Canada Immigration and Refugees` Board reached this decision, which announced that there were no evidence to point that Budimcic has committed war crimes.
Canada`s Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day has filed a request before the Canada Immigration and Refugees` Board on 2007, for the refugee status to be revoked, which would enable Budimcic`s deportation. He was given the status of a refugee for claiming he and his wife in Croatia were in danger because he is a Croat and his wife is Serbian. The committee elaborated its provision to refuse the ministers request in a 57-page document.
During the Osijek County Court trial, four former Croatian Army members testified, saying Budimcic took part in executions and tortured prisoners during the Serbian aggression on Croatia in 1991. However, Board member Ross Pattee said the witnesses were not brought to Canada to testify at the immigration hearing.
Osijek County Court spokesperson Miroslav Rozac said that Croatia cannot do anything, although Budimcic was validly sentenced to 15 years in prison.
– Budimcic has Canadian citizenship and nothing can be done unless Canada extradites him Rozac said.
With regard to the four witnesses who did not come to testify in Canada, the court spokesperson said the Justice Ministry had jurisdiction.
– The Canadian and Croatian Justice Ministries were supposed to have agreed on giving depositions from Croatia Rozac said, adding that the witnesses could have testified via video link.
Budimcic left the area of the so-called Serb Krajina during the period of peaceful reintegration. This area was under integration of the Canadian battalion, so he went to Canada and took Canadian citizenship.
Witnesses stated in their deposition that they recognised Josip Budimcic among Chetniks who had tortured prisoners. They said they tied the prisoners up, beat them, extinguished cigarettes all over their bodies and shot above their heads to frighten them.
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