BUTCHER OF SREBRENICA WANTS HIS OWN ADMISSION KEPT SILENT
April 10, 2006
BOSTON –A Bosnian immigrant charged with concealing his military past to get into the United States is asking a judge to bar prosecutors from using statements he made to investigators the day of his arrest, when he acknowledged that he helped kill 1,200 unarmed Bosniaks in a 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
Marko Boskic, 41, was living in Peabody and working in construction when he was arrested on immigration charges in Massachusetts in August 2004.
In an interview with federal agents, Boskic admitted participating in a July 1995 massacre in a field outside the town of Srebrenica, when 1,200 Bosniaks were led out of buses, lined up and shot with automatic rifles.
Boskic told investigators he was allegedly held in a Serbian concentration camp for about six months in 1994 and released only on the condition that he join the 10th Sabotage Detachment, a military unit that carried out the mass killing of Bosniaks near Srebrenica.
He said he was forced on threat of death to participate in the 1994 massacre of Muslims.
“I had two choices: join or be dead,” he said, according to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent who interviewed Boskic after his arrest on immigration fraud charges.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock began hearing testimony on Boskic’s motion to suppress statements he made to federal agents who questioned him just before his arrest. The hearing was scheduled to continue April 18.
Boskic’s lawyer, Max Stern, argued in his motion that federal agents engaged in an elaborate deception to get Boskic to talk about his role in the massacre.
Boskic, a permanent resident of the United States, received a notice from immigration officials instructing him to pick up travel documents he had applied for to visit relatives overseas.
When he arrived to pick up the documents on Aug. 25, 2004, he was interviewed by an immigration official, the FBI and later by a prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague.
Boskic claims he was not told that a warrant out for his arrest on immigration fraud charges had been issued earlier that day. He said the Hague prosecutor repeatedly told him he was not the target of an investigation and that he was looking for Boskic’s cooperation against Serbian military officials.
Boskic agreed to cooperate and said his unit commander was the one who ordered him and other soldiers to kill the Muslims.
Thomas Carroll, a special agent with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, testified Monday that Boskic was given a form in both English and Croatian that explained his rights against incriminating himself before the questioning began. Carroll said he explained Boskic’s rights to him three times during his interview.
“He said, ‘I know what these are’ and signed them,” Carroll said.
But Boskic said he was not told of his rights at the beginning of the interview and was only told he did not have to cooperate after he had already provided incriminating information.
Under cross-examination by Boskic’s attorney, Carroll acknowledged that investigators who interviewed Boskic that day did not tell him that he was the target of their investigation or that they had already applied for and received a warrant for his arrest.
“You were concerned that if he knew there was an investigation he wouldn’t speak at all, isn’t that correct?” Stern asked.
“Correct,” Carroll replied.
Boskic’s case helped prompt legislation that gives the U.S. Justice Department expanded powers to track down and deport aliens who committed war crimes and human-rights violations in their homelands. The legislation was signed into law in December 2004.
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