WASHINGTON - John Morton, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that a former member of the Bosnian Serb Army left the United States to return to Serbia after a federal judge ordered his denaturalization because he concealed serving in the military during the Bosnian war on his application for U.S. citizenship.
Jadranko Gostic, 47, a former resident of St. Petersburg, Fla., departed the United States on June 1, 2010. U.S. District Court Judge James Moody in Tampa, Fla., ordered his denaturalization on May 26, 2010.
Court documents allege that Gostic served in the Zvornik Infantry Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army from April 1992 until December 1995. International tribunals have found that some units of the Zvornik Brigade engaged in war crimes and crimes against humanity, and that they participated in the July 1995 action against the Srebrenica enclave during which some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were executed.
Gostic entered the United States in 1999, received lawful permanent residence status in 2002 and was naturalized in 2004. During each stage of the immigration and naturalization process Gostic concealed his service in the Zvornik Brigade, even when specifically asked about his prior military service.
ICE's Human Rights Violator and War Crimes Unit (HRVWCU) focus on human rights violators, including those who have participated in war crimes and acts of genocide, torture, extrajudicial killing, violations of religious freedom, and other acts of persecution. Individuals like Gostic, seek to evade justice by seeking shelter in the United States.
Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Tampa, said "ICE is committed to keeping the nation safe by ensuring the secure removal of those with known ties to human rights violations. Part of ICE's mandate is to identify, prosecute and ultimately remove such offenders who are in the United States."
Gostic agreed to admit to the allegations against him, to be denaturalized, to surrender his lawful permanent resident status and to depart the United States and departed the United States.