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US, ICE seek denaturalization of former Bosnian military member residing in Illinois who allegedly lied to obtain US citizenship

26 Dec

CHICAGO – The United States on Thursday filed a civil denaturalization complaint in the Northern District of Illinois against a former Bosnian military member who allegedly obtained his naturalized U.S. citizenship by fraud.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Chicago investigated the case with assistance from ICE’s Human Rights Violator and War Crimes Center, and the Civil Division’s Office of Immigration Litigation District Court Section (OIL-DCS). ICE’s Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) Human Rights Law Section and Chicago Office of Chief Counsel, and the Justice Department’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, provided support.

Nedjo Milosevic, 53, a native of the former Yugoslavia, who, according to the Department of Justice’s complaint, was a member of one of the military units responsible for the Srebrenica massacre – the largest mass atrocity in Europe since the Holocaust.

“Nedjo Milosevic tried to cheat our nation’s immigration system by lying about his military role during the Bosnian War,” said HSI Executive Associate Director Derek Benner. “This denaturalization filing demonstrates the U.S. government’s enduring commitment to identify and bring to justice those who are suspected to have taken part in human rights violations in any part of the world. The United States will not serve as a safe haven for those who would commit such atrocities.”

“The naturalization process is a shining example of the United States’ generosity to the rest of the world, but it is not available to war criminals,” said Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio. “The United States will use every available law enforcement tool to combat human rights abuses like these, including the civil denaturalization process.”

According to the complaint, Milosevic, a resident of Harwood Heights, Illinois, was a member of the Military Police Company of the Zvornik Brigade of the Army of the Serb Republic – the military arm of an entity within Bosnia controlled by ethnic Serbs.

The Zvornik Brigade, including the Military Police Company, were active during the Srebrenica massacre during which, over the course of several days in July 1995, about 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically killed and more than 30,000 women, children and elderly were forcibly separated and expelled from the region.

The complaint alleges that Milosevic was deployed in the field during the Srebrenica massacre, and that he concealed and affirmatively misrepresented his military service to obtain U.S. immigration benefits. The complaint also alleges that Milosevic falsely stated that he was living in Serbia, rather than Bosnia. The civil complaint was filed in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois.

This case is being prosecuted by Counsel for National Security Aaron Petty of OIL-DCS’s National Security and Affirmative Litigation Unit with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

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

This civil denaturalization case follows the criminal conviction of a member of the Army of the Serb Republic for making materially false statements on his application for refugee status, which also involved concealment of service in a military unit connected to the Srebrenica massacre, as well as civil denaturalization actions against alleged members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, convicted in Bosnia of murdering civilians and prisoners of war during the 1990s Balkans conflict, and an alleged member of the Croatian Defense Council, who participated in extrajudicial killings during the same conflict.

Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals or naturalized U.S. citizens suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are encouraged to contact U.S. law enforcement through the DHS tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or to complete the online tip form or through the Justice Department’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section at 1-800-813-5863. Callers may remain anonymous.