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Human Rights Violators
01/18/2018

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US, ICE seek denaturalization of former Bosnian paramilitary member who allegedly lied to obtain US citizenship

WASHINGTON — The United States on Thursday filed a civil denaturalization complaint in the Northern District of Iowa against a 51-year old man who allegedly obtained his naturalized U.S. citizenship by fraud.

This complaint was announced by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Department of Justice. This case was investigated by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Cedar Rapids Office, with support from ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC).

“This denaturalization filing demonstrates the U.S. government’s enduring commitment to identify and bring to justice those who have committed human rights violations in any part of the world,” said ICE HSI Deputy Executive Associate Director Derek Benner. “The United States will not serve as a safe haven for those who have committed such atrocities and then fled from justice. We will identify, locate, and work to prosecute and/or remove human rights violators in the U.S. regardless of their nationality, ethnicity or religious background.”

Eso Razic, a native of the former Yugoslavia and subsequently a citizen of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, allegedly concealed his participation in paramilitary organizations during the 1990s Balkans conflict. 

The United States alleges that while he a member of these organizations, Razic participated in the extrajudicial killing of three people, including a wounded prisoner of war. 

The complaint alleges that Razic fraudulently obtained his immigration status by misrepresenting and concealing his membership in and conduct with these groups.

This case is being prosecuted by: Aaron Petty, Department of Justice’s Office of Immigration Litigation; Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Schunk, Northern District of Iowa; with support from ICE’s Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) Human Rights Law Section and OPLA’s Office of the Chief Counsel’s Omaha Office.

“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that our immigration system serves the national interest,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “When our immigration system and public safety are undermined by fraudsters, the Justice Department will prosecute them and use civil denaturalization to protect the integrity of our nation’s immigration system and defend the security of our nation.”

“Laws that regulate access to United States citizenship must be respected,” said Peter E. Deegan Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa. “Our office will work vigorously with our enforcement partners to ensure that naturalization is reserved for qualified individuals and that the rule of law is upheld.”

The HRVWCC was established in 2009 to further ICE’s efforts to identify, locate and prosecute human rights abusers in the United States, including those who are known or suspected to have participated in persecution, war crimes, genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, female genital mutilation and the use or recruitment of child soldiers. 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 395 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 835 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Additionally, ICE has facilitated the departure of an additional 112 such individuals from the United States.

Currently, HSI has more than 130 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,750 leads and removals cases involving suspected human rights violators from 95 different countries. Since 2003, the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center has issued more than 74,000 lookouts for individuals from more than 110 countries and stopped over 234 human rights violators and war crimes suspects from entering the U.S.

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.

The claims made in the complaint are allegations only; there have been no determinations of liability.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/18/2018