Gavric’s true identity came to light after he was wounded during the assassination of Cape Town underworld figure Cyril Beeka in March 2011. He was shot in the chest while driving Beeka’s vehicle near the University of the Western Cape.
Gavric‚ who was living under the name Sasa Kovacevic‚ was arrested after being discharged from hospital and charged with drug possession‚ fraud‚ and having obtained official documents — including a gun licence — in his false name. He is yet to be tried on those charges.
Serbia applied for his extradition on December 29‚ 2011‚ and a month later Gavric launched his bid for asylum. He is being held at Helderstroom maximum security prison in Caledon.
In Friday’s judgment‚ Justice Leona Theron also rejected a constitutional challenge to a clause in the 1998 Refugees Act which excludes people convicted of certain non-political crimes from being eligible for refugee status.
She said since Gavric continued to deny responsibility for the assassination of Arkan — real name Eljko Ranatovic‚ a paramilitary commander who fought on the side of Slobodan Milosevic during the Yugoslav conflict in the 1990s — he could not also argue that he had been found guilty of a political crime.
“If the applicant maintains his innocence‚ he can have no knowledge of the motive behind the crime‚” said Theron. Additionally‚ “the Serbian District Court concluded that the assassination of Arkan was for monetary gain”.