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Welcome to Australia, beautiful one day, full of war criminals the next

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Accused war criminal, Dragan Vasiljković, centre (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

It looks as if our border protection officials are working hard to shield us against the threat emanating from Tamil toddlers, Kurdish rape victims and mayors of small Slovenian towns, however, when it comes to the real monsters they don’t seem up to the job as has been proven by the growing number of suspected war criminals found living in our suburbs, writes Branko Miletic.

FIRST DISCOVERED living in our midst was Dragan Vasiljković, also known as ex-Serbian commander “Captain Dragan”, who in 2017 was sentenced to 15 years over murder, torture and other war crimes across various parts of the Balkans.

The former Perth-based golf instructor is currently in a Croatian prison serving out his sentence for participating in crimes against humanity and genocide.

Then Predrag Japranin, who was indicted by a Croatian court in 2011 for the murders of civilians in the town of Petrinja during fighting between Croatian forces and the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) in November 1991 was found living in Melbourne.

Although Japranin was placed on Interpol's most wanted list, Australian authorities didn’t bother reacting and, as such, he is still a free man living in Melbourne’s western suburbs, says an ABC story.

The third case is that of another Perth and suspected former Serb paramilitary, Dragan Ergic, who is alleged to have been involved in the mass killings of civilians in the village of Ivkovici, where men, women and children were killed in a range of bestial and horrific ways.

Last week, a fourth candidate, Zoran Tadic, was added to Australia’s Wall of Shame.

Reputedly also a member of a 1990s Serbian paramilitary unit, Tadic, 59, was found living in the Sydney suburb of Heckenberg after allegedly migrating to Australia in August 1992 say reports, with the help of Serbian authorities.

According to a number of stories in The Australian, Tadic’s arrival in Australia:

‘...came nine months after he allegedly commanded Serbian forces to kill ten elderly women and 20 men in the small coastal Croatian village of Skrabrnja. Thirteen soldiers defending the town were allegedly beaten and tortured, including having ears hacked off, before they were shot.’

According to The Australian, as of 17 January 2019:

‘Croatian investigators from the War Crimes Unit in Zadar had put together a file of evidence against Mr Tadic and charged him with war crimes under the Geneva Conventions, including criminal offences against civilians and crimes against prisoners of war.’

Another story, this time in The Daily Mail says:

Mr Tadic, then aged 32, is accused of directly being involved in rounding up 30 people, which included 20 men and 10 women aged between 23 and 88.

 

Mr Tadic and his men followed by tanks and armed convoys, entered the village at around 7.30 AM in November 1991, where investigators say they broke the resistance of the defenders and then mass destroyed residential, commercial and sanctuary facilities.

 

Police said these people were killed with shots to the head, neck and chest and were physically abused prior to their deaths.

In 2005, a local court found Tadic guilty of a road rage incident in Sydney during which he threw Ms Jill Evans, a 59-year old woman “like a rag doll’’ into the path of an oncoming car.

In court, Tadic, who was 46 at the time, claimed that he acted in “self-defence” and that his victim had “fallen on to the road”.

However, magistrate Michael Price told the court:

“She is flung to one side like a rag doll as one witness described it and into the path of an approaching motorist.”

The judge handed him a 12-month suspended sentence, according to the story in The Australian.

According to prominent people within Australia’s Albanian, Bosnian and Croatian communities, there is anecdotal data suggesting there could be up to a further 20 suspected war criminals, mostly ethnic Serbs from either Bosnia or Croatia, currently living in Australia.

While you could be excused in thinking that Australia has become the Argentina of the South Pacific in terms of giving sanctuary to war criminals, the response to questions sent to Australia’s Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, David Coleman MP, does little to dispel that notion.

Coleman's media representatives stated:

'The Department does not comment on individual cases. The grounds on which a person’s Australian citizenship may be revoked or ceased are set out in the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.'

Not that Balkan intrigues are foreign to the Minister. In December last year, his department arrested Roman Leljak, the mayor of the Slovenian town of Radenci and a researcher into the 1700-plus post-WW2 Communist mass graves found across the former Yugoslavia, as he stepped off a plane in Sydney.

Leljak, who had been to Australia previously, was here to promote his new film but never made it out of Sydney airport.

After being handcuffed and interrogated for over five hours by Border Security officers, he was made to pay for his own ticket back to Slovenia and forced to fly out that very same day.

Leljak said Border Force continually questioned him over a 26-year-old event where he had been charged with being a co-director of a failed car rental company in Slovenia, a charge which has since been overturned.

Speaking with Leljak one week later, he says that the whole episode was a political stunt orchestrated from overseas by those who oppose his war crimes research.

The insinuation here is that Australia’s Immigration department played the role of the “useful idiots” in the whole saga.

So it seems Australians need to be protected from failed Slovenian company directors, who along with the likes of Tamils fleeing violence in Sri Lanka and Kurdish women held as sex slaves by ISIS, are apparently the real threats to this country, or so this government would have you believe.

However, former members of Serbian paramilitary groups that committed heinous and abhorrent war crimes including where ‘Hundreds of people were killed — shot, burnt alive, beaten or tortured to death in other ways,’ as was documented by the New England Centre for International Law and Policy, seem to be just fine to stay in this country judging by the government’s actions.

Branko Miletic is a journalist, editor, historian and author who has written extensively on the wars in the Balkans and post-Yugoslavia politics for the past 20 years. You can follow Branko on Twitter @journovox9.

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