Mladen Mitrovic, 52, of Loganville, Ga., was arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge E. Clayton Scofield III on federal charges that he obtained his naturalized citizenship through fraudulent omissions about his background that related to his work as a Serbian concentration camp guard.
"The Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement continues to work with officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina to locate concentration camp guards who emigrated under false pretenses to the United States after the Bosnian War," said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. "This defendant will now have to face many of the former Bosnian Muslim prisoners who suffered at his hand in the Trnopolje Concentration Camp."
"HSI special agents in Atlanta, working on a tip from our special agents in Portland, Ore., were able to identify Mr. Mitrovic as a potential human rights violator responsible for the alleged abuse and torture of Muslims and Catholics at the Trnopolje Concentration Camp," said Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of HSI Atlanta. "The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia has shown great expertise in their aggressive prosecution of suspects accused of committing human rights violations abroad before immigrating to the United States under false pretenses."
According to information presented in court, Mitrovic, a Bosnian native, applied to be naturalized as a United States citizen Oct. 3, 2002. In his naturalization application, Mitrovic allegedly failed to disclose that as a guard at a Serbian concentration camp during the Bosnian War, he persecuted people because of their religion, national origin and membership in a particular social group.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and automatic deportation upon the completion of a sentence of imprisonment. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding, but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
ICE's Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center investigates human rights violators who try to evade justice by seeking shelter in the United States, including those who have participated in war crimes and acts of genocide, torture and extrajudicial killings. These individuals may use fraudulent identities to enter the country and attempt to blend into communities in the United States. Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to call the toll-free HSI tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or to complete its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. To learn more about the assistance available to victims in these cases, the public should contact ICE's confidential victim-witness toll-free number at 1-866-872-4973. Tips may be provided anonymously.
Since fiscal year 2004, ICE has arrested more than 225 individuals for human rights-related violations under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders and physically removed more than 540 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Currently, HSI has more than 140 active investigations and ICE is pursuing more than 1,900 leads and removal cases involving suspected human rights violators from nearly 95 different countries.
Members of the public are reminded that a defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.