Man suspected of Bosnian war crimes will change plea in Ohio

AP News
Posted: Dec 07, 2017 3:52 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man was scheduled to be in court Thursday to change his plea on charges that he hid the fact he had been in a special Serbian police unit in Bosnia around the time of the Serb massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim Bosnians during the 1995 genocide.

The U.S. government accused Oliver Dragic of immigration fraud in a three-count federal indictment last year. He has pleaded not guilty.

U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster scheduled the plea hearing for Thursday afternoon. A change of plea hearing is typically held when a defendant plans to plead guilty.

Darin Thompson, Dragic's public defender, declined to comment before the hearing.

Dragic, of Barberton in suburban Akron, made false statements on forms about his role in ethnic cleansing in Bosnia while applying for refugee status in the U.S., prosecutors alleged in an updated indictment earlier this year.

Dragic moved to Serbian-controlled Bosnia in 1994 after graduating from a police training school, according to the indictment. His unit was involved in combat, "including during the broader Srebrenica operations," and afterward attended an elite training school, the indictment said.

Dragic applied for refugee status in the U.S. in 1998, saying he was a victim of the war in Bosnia. He lied by saying he had never worked and by saying he fled Bosnia in 1992, the indictment said.