Sydney, Feb. 11 (ANI): A research has found that Australia could be giving shelter to hundreds of war criminals from conflict zones as diverse as East Timor and Afghanistan.
According to the Daily Telegraph, there suspected war criminals could have entered as refugees or visitors from former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Rwanda, East Timor, Afghanistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Lebanon. Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Tibet, Nigeria. Chile, Iran, Iraq and India.
In a Policy Brief, the Lowy Institute research associate and former diplomat Fergus Hanson has said that successive governments have adopted a "no policy" approach to war criminals.
"There are good reasons to believe that significant numbers are living here," Hanson says in his report.
"Wherever there has been a war there is a risk that we have taken war criminals," he adds.
Despite some classic examples, which indicated that Australia was proving to be a heaven for war criminals, the government has never tried to address this issue seriously.
For example, Saddam Hussein's bodyguard was found to be living in Adelaide and so was alleged war criminal Captain Dragan Vasiljkovic, of the erstwhile Yugoslavia. Vasiljkovic is currently in jail awaiting extradition.
"The Government spends 15.7 million dollars a year on international criminal courts and tribunals targeting war criminals, but virtually zero on investigations at home," the Policy Brief reads.
"If we are going to be high and mighty about other people's war criminals then we need to fix our own back yard first," Hanson notes.
There is a small war crimes screening unit in Australia's immigration department, but it is so lenient that it only refused seven out of 881 visa application referrals received in 2005.
However, 7600 out of 640,000 names listed on Immigration's movement alert list were related to war crimes or to crimes against humanity. (ANI)