TORONTO (AP) - A Serbian war crimes suspect accused in a Kosovo massacre of children and their mothers has lost his final bid to remain in Canada and will be deported back to Serbia-Montenegro to stand trial, according to court documents obtained Thursday.
Dejan Demirovic, 30, was a member of the nefarious Scorpions paramilitary unit and is accused of killing at least 14 ethnic Albanian civilians when his unit stormed the northern Kosovo town of Podujevo in March 1999. Survivors said the men lined up children and their mothers, shoved them against a wall and sprayed them with machine-gun fire.
Another member of the Scorpions, Sasa Cvjetan, was convicted by a Belgrade court in June in the same massacre and given a 20-year prison sentence. The Scorpions have since become notorious for their alleged war crimes not only in Bosnia during the 1992-1995 war there but also in Kosovo during the province's 1998-1999 war.
Demirovic fled to Canada in August 2001 and applied for refugee status and was living quietly with his immigrant parents in the sleepy town of Windsor in southern Ontario. He was arrested in January 2003 on a Serbian arrest warrant and fought his legal battle to remain in Canada while behind bars at the Metro West Detention Center in Toronto.
"He stated that he fears persecution if returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina because he is a child of a mixed marriage in that his father is Muslim and his mother is Serbian," wrote Federal Court of Canada Justice Eleanor Dawson in her ruling Tuesday.
But she upheld the deportation order, which found that Demirovic was unlikely to face risk to life, or cruel and unusual punishment.
Anna Pape, a spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency, said Thursday that Demirovic had no further legal means to remain in Canada and would now be deported.
"He is a serious criminal and in removing him, the CBSA is meeting its international obligations," Pape said, adding she could not say when, for security reasons.
Canada has for years shouldered a reputation of harboring suspected terrorists or criminals, many of whom take advantage of the country's liberal immigration laws and a justice system that allows for numerous appeals.
In March, Canada finally booted white supremacist Ernst Zundel back to Germany to face hate-crimes charges after years of legal wrangling. Ottawa also is preparing to deport China's most-wanted man, Lai Changxing, the alleged mastermind of a smuggling ring.
Demirovic was living in relative obscurity until a survivor of the Kosovo massacre traveled to Canada to testify before authorities about her ordeal.
Saranda Bogujevci, who was 13 years old at the time, survived the attack despite being shot 16 times, but lives with the memory of watching her mother, brothers, grandmother, aunt and friends killed before her eyes.
"I saw my brother at my feet, shot in the head," she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview last year. "I saw my cousins, my grandmother, my auntie. I was hoping so much about my mom. And my older brother. I was always hoping they were alive."
They didn't survive. She and four cousins -- as well as her father and uncle, who had fled into the forest, thinking only the men were in danger -- now live in England.
Thousands of ethnic Albanian civilians were killed during the conflict in Kosovo. NATO bombing forced Serbia to relinquish control of the southern province to the United Nations and NATO in mid-1999.