Bosnian National Extradited to Stand Trial for Murder and Torture
WASHINGTON - The United States has extradited Sulejman Mujagic, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a resident of Utica, New York, to stand trial in Bosnia for charges relating to the torture and murder of one prisoner of war and the torture of another during the armed conflict in Bosnia.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian of the Northern District of New York, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton made the announcement.
“This extradition is the result of close cooperation between the U.S. and Bosnian authorities to bring alleged perpetrators of war crimes and torture in Bosnia to justice,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman.
“Through the coordinated efforts of many law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, Sulejman Mujagic will stand trial in a Bosnian court for the alleged murder of an unarmed soldier and the torture of a second soldier,” said United States Attorney Hartunian. “This case is a reflection of our steadfast commitment to support the rights of crime victims - wherever they are.”
“For the families who lost loved ones during the Bosnian war, justice has been a long time coming, but they can take some comfort in knowing that those responsible for this tragedy are now being held accountable for their crimes,” said ICE Director John Morton. “I applaud the outstanding work by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents in upstate New York, ICE's Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center, and our partners at the Department of Justice and Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities. Thanks to their efforts, Sulejman Mujagic will now face justice for his actions. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure our country does not serve as a safe haven for human rights violators and others who have committed heinous acts.”
Mujagic is being extradited to Bosnia to be tried for war crimes committed on or about March 6, 1995, during the armed conflict that followed the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Bosnia has alleged that Mujagic, then a platoon commander in the Army of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia, summarily tortured and executed a disarmed Bosnian Army soldier and tortured a second soldier after the two prisoners had been captured by Mujagic and his men.
In response to the Bosnian government's request for extradition pursuant to the extradition treaty currently in force between the United States and Bosnia, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint in U.S. federal district court on Nov. 27, 2012, and HSI special agents arrested Mujagic the next day in Utica, New York, for purposes of extradition.
On April 2, 2013, the federal district court in the Northern District of New York ruled that Mujagic was subject to extradition to Bosnia to stand trial for the murder and torture of the two unarmed victims. On May 31, 2013, Mujagic was delivered to Bosnian authorities and removed from the United States. The Office of the Cantonal Prosecutor of the Una-Sana Canton in Bihac is handling Mujagic's prosecution in Bosnia.
Mujagic entered the United States in July 1997 and obtained status as a lawful permanent resident in March 2001. Mujagic does not retain U.S. citizenship.
This case was investigated by HSI Buffalo, with assistance from the ICE Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center and INTERPOL Washington. The case was handled by Trial Attorneys Ivana Nizich and Jay Bauer of the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Carla Freedman of the Northern District of New York. The extradition was handled collaboratively with Criminal Division Trial Attorneys Ken Harris, Marcus Busch and Terry Schubert of the Office of International Affairs.
The case was a result of the close cooperation between the U.S. and Bosnian authorities, particularly the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Una-Sana Canton in Bihac, Bosnia.