CANADA TO DEPORT BRANKO ROGAN, SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL
|BRANKO ROGAN, Serbian War Criminal in Port Coquitlam (Metro Vancouver), Canada|
By Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun
A Metro Vancouver man who alerted the RCMP about an alleged war criminal living in Port Coquitlam says he is "disappointed" Canada did not check into the background of Branko Rogan before allowing him into the country.
Huso Hadzic told a Federal Court judge Friday that he knew he had to do something when he learned back in 1996 that one of his captors in the former Yugoslavia had moved to B.C.
"I had to do something," Hadzic told Judge Anne MacTavish. "I am not going to see him here enjoying this beautiful country."
He said Rogan was one of several brutal guards at the jail where he was held in 1992 in his hometown of Bileca, which is now in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Hadzic saw Rogan haul off fellow political prisoners from the cells, all of them from the Muslim minority, and bring them back beaten and battered. So when his wife saw Rogan, 49, in a Burnaby mall in 1996, he did some checking and called police.
And after several years of investigation, the federal government sent Rogan a notice of citizenship revocation in 2007, something he is challenging in Federal Court. In the meantime, he remains a Canadian, despite allegations he participated in beatings, threatened and taunted Muslim inmates and lied to Canadian authorities when he applied to come here in 1994.
Rogan has not attended the historic hearing nor had a lawyer present. If he loses his citizenship, it would be a first in Canada for war crimes committed after the Second World War.
He told The Vancouver Sun Friday in a brief telephone interview that the stories being told about him "are all lies."
"I have never done anything wrong," Rogan said.
He said he does plan to come to court later in the hearing to tell his side of the story.
He said he never disclosed to Canadian immigration authorities that he worked at the jail because they only asked him about military service and he considered it a civilian position.
Rogan said he only walked around the exterior of the jail and denied being involved in any acts of violence.
He admitted a lengthy friendship with Hadzic and said he didn't understand "why Huso Hadzic has now turned on me."
Rogan isn't in court, he said, because "I have to work. I have to feed my family."
Hadzic testified that he never expected Rogan or other Serb nationalists to be granted refugee status anywhere after all the documented atrocities.
"I thought these people would never even think about getting out of Bileca," he testified.
Hadzic, 48, said he was one of the luckier prisoners because he was spared beatings during his five-month detention.
But he said he remembers Rogan bringing one older prisoner back to the cells who was severely beaten.
"He was in really, really bad shape and he started telling me the story how Branko Rogan was the one beating him," Hadzic said.
"He actually pulled up his shirt and showed us the black on his body.
"It was bad and very disturbing to see."
Hadzic's younger brother Kamel also testified Friday.
Kamel Hadzic, 40, said that even after ethnic tensions increased around Bileca, he fulfilled his military duty with the mostly Serbian army.
But just months after being wounded on the front line and returned home, he was arrested with two other Muslim men as they tried to make their way to neighbouring Montenegro.
Like his elder brother, Kamel was not injured by Rogan or other guards.
But he testified that he saw Rogan slap his second cousin, who was then taken out of his line of sight and later brought back beaten up.
"I have personally heard the screams," Kamel Hadzic said. "I never saw the beatings, but I saw the outcome."