Former Bosnian Army Prison Guard Pleads Guilty to Fraudulently Procuring U.S. Citizenship
A Jacksonville, Florida, man pleaded guilty today for unlawfully procuring U.S. citizenship by failing to disclose during his naturalization process his membership in the Bosnian Army and crimes that he committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Bosnian Conflict in the 1990s, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida.
Slobo Maric, 56, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James R. Klindt of the Middle District of Florida. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
According to the plea agreement, in 1993, Maric served as a shift leader, the second in command to the warden, of a detention facility in Bosnia that housed captured Bosnian-Croat soldiers. Many of the guards in the facility routinely subjected detainees to serious physical abuse and humiliation, including by referring to them with ethnic slurs and spitting on them. According to the plea agreement, Maric selected detainees for other guards to abuse; directly participated in abusing several prisoners; and sent prisoners on dangerous and deadly work details on the front line of the conflict. The Bosnian government charged Maric for his criminal conduct and, after Maric immigrated to the United States, Bosnia indicted and convicted Maric in absentia for war crimes against prisoners. According to the plea agreement, Maric knew about the Bosnian court proceedings, yet he failed to disclose the proceedings and lied about his conduct on his application for U.S. citizenship. Maric became a naturalized U.S. citizen on Oct. 31, 2002.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Jacksonville Field Office investigated the case under the supervision of the HSI Tampa Field Office with support from ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center.
Trial Attorneys Clayton O’Connor, Sasha Rutizer and Christina Giffin and Historian David Rich of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dale Campion of the Middle District of Florida are prosecuting the case.