Mirko ‘CroCop’ Filipovic has revealed how Canadian immigration officials subjected him to intensive questioning during his first two days in the country. They wanted to know if he was involved in any war crimes during his military service when the former Yugoslavia descended into civil war in the mid-1990s.
Filipovic was with a Croatian unit from 1993-4 and Canadian officials were interested to see if he could give them any information about certain military figures of interest to the international community for war crimes and human rights violations.
“The first day I was kept for four hours and two more the next day. Although they were not satisfied with my answers they let me go to the hotel in the city, to sleep. They asked me to think about the questions raised. I was threatened with deportation, but appealed to the Croatian Embassy. The Consul was urgently flown in from Ottawa, and the UFC hired the best lawyer for immigration issues,” Filipovic related to Net.hr in Croatia.
“They obviously knew what would happen because my lawyer was on the runway at the airport! The inquiry was painful for me, but I must say that the Immigration Bureau officials very correctly performed their job. They used what they have to, but there are obviously very interested in the military and police matters from the former Yugoslavia.”
“Most of them were interested in my military service. I served in 1993-1994 as a conscripts, but I was not involved in combat activities. They asked me if I was involved in the torture of civilians, asking for names of command lines and tactical commanders,” Filipovic added.
“They were asking for details of my activities in Lucko ATJ [anti-terrorist unit] which I joined a few years after the war. They gave me a list of names for me to confirm, but I did not do it. I can not confirm one name because it is still a matter of dignity and principles. I said to myself, ‘If it comes to it I am ready to go home‘. They could have done what they wanted with me but [in the end] they let me fight.”
Filipovic went on to win his fight with Pat Barry and enjoyed something of a return to form while doing so. He demonstrated some nice kicks and powerful punching technique before getting the first RNC submission win of his career in the third round. It earned him $85,000 for Submission of the Night.