Dejan Demirovic (Kosovo)

In 1999, while the late Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic was still in power in Belgrade, Serbian troops, police and paramilitaries launched a campaign to drive ethnic Albanian Muslims out of the country. In March of that year, Dejan Demirovic, a member of the Scorpions paramilitary group was present when 19 civilians were murdered in the Kosovo town of Podujevo.

Dejan Demirovic initially confessed to taking part in the Podujevo massacre and was arrested. The charges against him, however, were dropped. Demirovic fled to Canada in 2001, living with his parents in Windsor, Ontario, and applied for refugee status. In January 2003, Canadian officials arrested Demirovic based on a Serbian arrest warrant. CCIJ wrote to Canadian government officials seeking assurance that the option most likely to serve the interests of justice would be pursued, either through an extradition to Serbia under certain conditions, or through criminal prosecution in Canada. Demirovic denied to Canadian authorities that he took part in the massacre, even saying that he tried to persuade one of the commanders to let the civilians go. The Immigration and Refugee Board, nonetheless, found that Demirovic was complicit in the massacre. In 2005, with his refugee claim and appeals denied, he was deported to Serbia. He was eventually subject to prosecution in Belgrade but charges were dropped against Demirovic when he became a cooperating witness, and the other four Scorpions were sentenced to twenty years in prison. Former Serbian deputy interior minister Vlastimir Djordjevic was also found guilty by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia of involvement in the killing of Albanian civilians in Kosovo in 1999.

CBC aired a story on Saranda Bogojevci, a young woman who survived the massacre and traveled to Canada to fight for justice for the murder of 14 members of her family in Podujevo.

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