Wanted war criminal arrested in central New York
UTICA, N.Y. – A Utica man was arrested early Wednesday morning by federal law enforcement pursuant to an extradition request from the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The man is wanted in his home country for crimes that he committed while commanding a platoon in the Army of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia.
Sulejman Mujagic, 50, of Utica, has been charged in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the unlawful killing of the enemy, and unlawful wounding and torture of a prisoner of war. The charges stem from his actions during a battle March 6, 1995, where he allegedly murdered a captured soldier and tortured another captured soldier who were fighting on behalf of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Mujagic, a lawful permanent resident of the United States, moved to Utica in July 1997. He is now pending extradition to face charges abroad.
Law enforcement activities in the United States were handled by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Other federal, state and local law enforcement participated in today's arrest, including: U.S. Marshals Service, New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force; Utica Police Department; and Oneida County Sheriff's Office.
The U.S. government wants to recognize the close cooperation between the United States, and Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities, particularly the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor's Office of Una-Sana Canton. United States, and Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities have cooperated on numerous war crimes cases in the past and will continue to work closely together in the future to bring alleged perpetrators of war crimes to justice.
HSI is committed to rooting out alleged human rights violators who seek a safe haven in the United States. The 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 HSI's confidential victim-witness toll-free number at 1-866-872-4973. Tips may be provided anonymously.
Since fiscal year 2004, HSI has arrested more than 200 individuals for human rights-related violations under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, the agency obtained deportation orders and physically removed more than 400 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Currently, HSI has more than 180 active investigations and is pursuing more than 1,900 leads and removal cases involving suspected human rights violators from nearly 95 different countries.