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Press Release

Former Bosnian Prison Camp Supervisor Charged with Decades-Long Scheme to Conceal Wartime Persecution

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Swampscott man allegedly pretended to be victim when he was actually a persecutor

BOSTON – A Swampscott man was arrested and charged today for allegedly making fraudulent claims of persecution to become a United States refugee and, later, a United States citizen. 

Kemal Mrndzic, 50, was charged with falsifying, concealing, and covering up a material fact from the U.S. government by trick, scheme, or device; using a fraudulently obtained U.S. passport; and possessing and using a fraudulently obtained naturalization certificate and fraudulently obtained Social Security card. Mrndzic was arrested this morning and, following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston this afternoon before Chief Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley, was released on a $30,000 cash bond. 

According to the complaint affidavit, Mrndzic served as a supervisor of the guards at a notorious prison camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the sectarian war which fractured the country in the 1990s. The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found that guards at the Celebici prison camp had committed numerous murders, rapes, and had engaged in torture and other forms of persecution of Serb prisoners held at the camp. Three of Mrndzic’s fellow guards were convicted by the ICTY after a trial in the Hague at which survivors testified to the harrowing prison camp conditions. According to the complaint, numerous survivors have since identified Mrndzic as being involved in the beatings and other abuses committed there. 

According to court documents, after the war ended, investigators from the ICTY interviewed Mrndzic in Sarajevo and allegedly accused him of being involved in the abuses at Celebici. Mrndzic subsequently concocted a scheme to flee the country by crossing the border into Croatia and allegedly applying as a refugee to the United States using a fabricated story. It is alleged that in his refugee application and interview, he falsely claimed that he fled his home after he was captured, interrogated and abused by Serb forces, and could not return home for fear of future persecution. He was admitted to the U.S. as a refugee in 1999, and ultimately became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2009.     
Celebici Camp survivors and family members who have information about the operation of the Camp, or have questions regarding this matter, should call the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 888-221-6023 or send an email to: Please indicate if you would prefer to be contacted in English or Serbo-Croatian.

Bivši logoraši koji su bili u logoru u Čelebićima ili članovi njihovih porodica koji imaju informacije o logoru ili pitanje o ovom predmetu, mogu nazvati Jedinice za pomoć žrtаva kod kancelarije federalnog tužioca tel. 888-221-6023 ili putem e-mailom: Molim obavjestite nas ako želite da mi vas kontaktiramo na engleskom ili na srpskom-hrvatskom-bosanskom jeziku.

Бивши логораши који су били у логору Челебићима или чланови њихових породица који имају информације о логору или питање о овом предмету, могу назвати Јединице за помоћ жртава код канцеларије федералног тужиоца тел. 888-221-6023 или путем е-маилом:  Молим обавјестите нас ако желите да ми вас контактирамо на енгелеском или на српском-хрватском босанском језику.

The use of a fraudulently obtained passport and fraudulently obtained naturalization certificate charges each provide for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. On each of the two remaining charges, the maximum sentence under the statutes is five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

The ICTY judgment which provides a detailed recitation of crimes committed at Celebici can be found here.  

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Michael J. Krol, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England; Sharon B. MacDermott, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Boston Field Office; and Jonathan Davidson, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, Boston Field Office made the announcement today. This matter was investigated with the assistance of the United States Interagency Human Rights Violators & War Crimes Center. The Swampscott Police Department also provided important assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John T. McNeil and Jason A. Casey of Rollins’ National Security Unit are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the complaint are allegations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated May 24, 2023

National Security