73ºF

Jacksonville man covered up war crimes to become U.S. citizen

Ex-Bosnian Army prison guard sentenced to 18 months, citizenship revoked

photo

WASHINGTON – A Jacksonville man prosecutors said failed to disclose when he applied for U.S. citizenship that he was a former member of the Bosnian Army and had been convicted of war crimes was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison.

Slobo Maric, 56, pleaded guilty last July to one count of unlawful procurement of naturalization. His U.S. citizenship has been revoked.

Prosecutors said Maric not only failed to disclose his role in the Bosnian Army but also crimes that he committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Bosnian Conflict in the 1990s.

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

According to the plea agreement, 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.
 
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Jacksonville Field Office investigated the case under the supervision of the HSI Tampa Field Office with support from ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center.