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Canadian Charged with War Crimes Was Once Hired by Cia, Says Group

December 11, 1992
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Radislav Grujicic, a Canadian resident who was arrested Tuesday on charges of war crimes, was hired by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency after the war for its clandestine Operation Paperclip, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Sol Littman, director of the Canadian office of the Los Angeles-based center, said he gave this information to the Deschenes Commission in 1986.

The commission, established to investigate war criminals in Canada, gave the information to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It took six years for the Canadian government to arrest Grujicic, Littman pointed out.

Other war criminals brought to the United States for secret anti-Communist activities included Klaus Barbie and Arthur Rudolph.

The Wiesenthal Center informed Canada that in the early 1950s, the Yugoslav government had requested Grujicic’s extradition to face war crimes charges.

Grujicic, 81, who lives in Windsor, Ontario, was charged with 10 counts of premeditated murder and one count each of conspiracy to murder and kidnap. His indictment says that as a senior official of a special section of the Belgrade police in wartime Serbia from June 22, 1941 to Oct. 1, 1944, he conspired with authorities and the German occupying forces in the arrest and interrogation of suspected communists.

As a result of Grujicic’s activities, his victims were deported to Germany and elsewhere for forced labor. Ten people are alleged to have been shot in Belgrade on May 25, 1943.

Littman said that seven years ago, when he was in Belgrade, he received this information from the Yugoslav Department to Combat Terrorism. According to the information, Grujicic offered his services to the CIA and “was hired by the same unit that handled the infamous Gestapo chief, Klaus Barbie,” Littman said.

Before the war, Grujicic had been a Yugoslav policeman. When the Germans invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941, Grujicic was transferred to the political police section in Belgrade, the Wiesenthal Center said.

Grujicic was assigned to infiltrate and inform on political prisoners held in the Banjica prison camp. A prisoner who recognized and denounced Grujicic was subsequently killed, the Wiesenthal Center reported. Evidence against Grujicic was given by some prisoners who survived the Banjica camp.

After the war, Grujicic worked for the Americans in Austria and Italy. When he was no longer useful, he was provide with false papers and smuggled out of Italy through the “rat line,” which was organized by Croatian priests, other members of the Catholic Church and the Red Cross. From the port of Genoa, Grujicic made his way to Canada.

Some time in the early 1960s, Grujicic traveled to the United States, where he offered his services to the FBI. The FBI referred him to its Canadian counterpart, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“In an attempt to get Grujicic, the RCMP requested background information from the British,” Littman said.

“The information I was given was that Kim Philby, the notorious Soviet mole in the British secret service, provided false information which persuaded the RCMP to use him.

“However, the RCMP soon learned the truth and dropped Grujicic like a hot potato,” Littman said.

Littman said he gave this information to staff members of the Deschenes Commission.

“The RCMP inherited all the names we supplied the commission,” said Littman. “In any event, the RCMP has known considerably about the man for years.”

In Ottawa, meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday accepted an appeal by Imre Finta, who is challenging the constitutionality of Canada’s war crimes legislation.

Finta, who was acquitted in 1990 of eight counts of war crimes committed in Hungary, is appealing the entire 1987 amendment to the criminal code, on grounds that it is retroactive and based on crimes committed outside the country.

Also on Thursday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of Finta’s acquittal filed by the Justice Department.

The Justice Department cited 36 errors in law made by the trial judge in the Finta case, Archie Campbell.

Finta was accused of the forcible confinement of 8,617 Jews in the ghetto in Szeged in southern Hungary.

The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld Finta’s acquittal in April. He was acquitted May 1990.

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