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Human Rights Violators
11/18/2019

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ICE removes former Bosnian Army prison guard

MIAMI – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) removed a Jacksonville, Florida man Thursday to Bosnia after he was released from U.S. prison for fraudulently procuring U.S. citizenship.

Slobo Maric, 59, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on March 27, 2017, and his U.S. citizenship was revoked for unlawfully obtaining that status by failing to disclose – during his naturalization process – his membership in the Bosnian Army and crimes he committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Bosnian Conflict in the 1990s. He was released from prison and taken into custody by ERO on Aug. 24, 2018.

This case was investigated by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Jacksonville office under the supervision of the Tampa office, with support from ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC). The case was litigated by Office of the Principal Legal Advisor’s Orlando field office.

"This criminal thought he could use the United States to shield him from his war crimes," said ERO Miami Field Office Director Michael W. Meade. "The U.S. will not provide a safe haven to criminals."

"HSI’s unique investigative authorities helped ensure this war criminal was held responsible for the horrific crimes he committed in Bosnia,” said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero. “Ensuring the integrity of our immigration system is an important aspect of safeguarding our national security.”

According to the plea agreement, in 1993, Maric served as a shift leader 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. 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.

ICE’s HRVWCC was established in 2009 to further ICE’s efforts to identify, located, investigate  and prosecute human rights abusers. The HRVWCC leverages the expertise of a select group of agents, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, historians and analysts who direct the agency’s broader enforcement efforts against these offenders.

Since 2003, ICE has arrested more than 450 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders against and physically removed more than 1030 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States.  Additionally, ICE has facilitated the departure of an additional 160 such individuals from the United States.

Currently, HSI has more than 180 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,640 leads and removals cases involving suspected human rights violators from 95 different countries. Since 2003, the HRVWCC has issued more than 76,000 lookouts for individuals from more than 110 countries and stopped over 315 human rights violators and war crimes suspects from entering 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 ICE tip line at - 1-866-DHS-2423 (1-866-347-2423). Callers may remain anonymous. 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.You can learn more about ICE’s mission to enforce federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration to promote homeland security and public safety at www.ICE.gov.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/20/2019