Former Bosnian Prison Guard Certified for Extradition to Bosnia-Herzegovina to Answer for Allegations of War Crime
Almaz Nezirovic is Wanted in Bosnia for War Crimes Against Civilians
ROANOKE, VIRGINIA – A former guard at the Rabic camp in Derventa Municipality of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who allegedly committed abuses against Serb civilians being detained at the camp, has been certified for extradition to Bosnia by a federal judge sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke.
Almaz Nezirovic, 54, of Roanoke, Va., is wanted in Bosnia to stand trial on the charge of War Crimes Against Civilians, allegations that arise out of actions claimed to have occurred between April and July 1992 during the Bosnian War. In April 1992, Nezirovic joined a paramilitary group, the HVO, and became a prison guard. Bosnian officials charge that while serving as a prison guard, Nezirovic committed war crimes by beating, humiliating and traumatizing unarmed civilian prisoners, causing severe personal injury.
In July 2012, the United States, on behalf of the government of Bosnia, filed a complaint to extradite Nezirovic pursuant to an extradition treaty between the two countries that has been in place since 1901 and the United Nations Convention Against Torture. After several hearings before United States Magistrate Judge Robert S. Ballou, yesterday the court found sufficient evidence to sustain the allegation and certified the extradition request to the Secretary of State. Today’s ruling provides the legal basis for the Secretary of State to decide whether Nezirovic will be extradited to Bosnia, where war crimes charges are pending against him.
“Almaz Nezirovic stands charged with horrific acts of torture by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “Today’s ruling moves this matter one step closer to ultimate resolution in that country. Mr. Nezirovic can now be subject to extradition and surrender to his home country, where he will stand trial for these offenses.”
The investigation of the case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and the Office of International Affairs. United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy and Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Wright are prosecuting the case for the United States.