A man wanted in Bosnia for war crimes committed during the conflict in the Balkans during the 1990s is to be deported from the United States for lying about his past.
Zdenko Jakisa reportedly did not mention his involvement with the Croatian Defense Council on his application for permanent residency status.
In 1993, Jakisa shot and killed his Serb neighbor through her window with an AK-47. He was convicted in a Bosnian court five years later, but by then he had Croatian citizenship.
“The reason I was lying was only to save my life and my wife's life,” Jakisa said in court to Judge Susan Richard Nelson, according to Daily Mail. “I did not come here to hurt anyone, or do anything.”
Judge Nelson gave Jakisa until Feb. 16 to turn himself in to Homeland Security officials, who will arrange his deportation.
“I need to sentence you for the crime that you've been convicted of, which is misrepresenting important material matters on your immigration application,” Nelson said.
Jakisa was also convicted of a count of grievous bodily damage before coming to the U.S. and two misdemeanors for disturbing the peace, according to StarTribune.
“Human rights violation cases — cases like this — can be difficult to investigate,” Shawn Neudauer, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, told StarTribune. “Sometimes the facts come to light a lot further down the road. The Bosnian Conflict was in the 1990s, and now here we are in 2016.”
Jakisa had a criminal record in Minnesota, including charges of driving under the influence.
In 2012, he spoke about the Bosnian conflict in an interview.
“I lost tons of my friends,” he said, according to Daily Mail. “My brother is also in a wheelchair, shot in the spine. There is almost no person in Croatia who did not lose somebody or is not crying for somebody.”
The Bosnian war claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, and turned half of the country’s 4.3 million population into refugees.
“It was a bad war for nothing, just good for government people so they can still talk lies to their own people,” Jakisa said in 2012, according to Daily Mail.