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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Barberton man accused of failing to disclose involvement in war crimes, including Srebenica massacre

A Barberton man was indicted for immigration fraud for failing to disclose his participation in the Srebenica massacre, said Carole S. Rendon, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and Marlon Miller, Special Agent in Charge of HSI’s Detroit office.

Oliver Dragic, 41, was named in the three-count indictment, charged with one count of possession of a fraudulently obtained green card, attempt to procure naturalization contrary to law and attempt to procure naturalization to which he was not entitled.

The indictment alleges Dragic failed to disclose his paramilitary police service for the Republika Srpska, a rogue state unrecognized by the international community that attempted to create an ethnically pure Serbian nation within the ethnically-mixed territory of the Yugoslav Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Dragic completed police training in Serbia in 1994 and returned to Bosnia, where he voluntarily joined a special police unit that joined in Republika Srpska’s army during military operations, according to the indictment.

Dragic failed to disclose his participation in the Srebrenica genocide, where he and his paramilitary police unit performed actions in the surrounding wilderness to prevent victims from escaping the massacre in July 1995, according to the indictment.  

Dragic applied for refugee status in the U.S. in May 1998, claiming he was a victim of the Bosnian war. He continued serving with the Republika Srpska police until November 1998. He made numerous false statements on his refugee application, according to the indictment.

“The United States stands as a beacon for those fleeing oppression and atrocities, not those who committed them,” Rendon said. “This defendant lied about his involvement in a horrific war crime and will be held accountable for those lies.”

“The investigation, prosecution, and ultimate removal of individuals like Dragic are paramount to the mission of Homeland Security Investigations and to the safety our communities,” Miller said.  “The United States is not a safe haven for war criminals.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Cronin is prosecuting the case following an investigation by HSI Special Agent Brett Bangas and Historian Michael MacQueen.

Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to contact HSI by calling the toll-free tip line at 1-866-347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199.  They can also email HRV.ICE@ice.dhs.gov.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum.  In most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Topic(s): 
Immigration
Component(s): 
Updated August 29, 2016