MORE ARRESTS OF SERB WAR CRIMINALS IN THE USA
BUTCHERS OF SREBRENICA HIDING IN THE UNITED STATES
Their names turned up at the Hague on a list of soldiers involved with a notorious brigade of Serbian forces responsible for Srebrenica massacre.
In federal court filings, the government says all three confessed to lying on their immigration forms to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
The men’s arrests were part of a national sweep to detain men who served in the military of the Republic of Srpska [Serb political entity which is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina] that immigrated to the United States on refugee status after the war.
In court filings, the government said all three men were part of the Zvornik Brigade, which was responsible for a massacre of over 8,000 Bosniaks at Srebrenica in July 1995.
The three men are expected to go on trial at the end of this month, but a key hearing today could determine how difficult the government’s case will be.
The defendants are trying to exclude important evidence by questioning its veracity. It includes statements made through the Croatian translator and the validity of the Serbian records that list the men as having been in the military.
Jankovic’s and Vidacak’s family declined to comment in the media.All three are being held in a Durham jail pending trial.
No matter what happens with this criminal trial, the men must face similar charges in immigration court in Atlanta. That court has a lower threshold for judgement and could force their deportation — regardless of the outcome of their criminal trial.
If deported, the men would be sent back to Bosnia where it could take years to resolve any potential charges there, Culbertson said.
Military records from a breakaway Serb republic will likely be allowed in the trial of three High Point men accused of lying on their immigration forms, a federal judge said Wednesday. U.S. District Court Judge N. Carlton Tilley said he was inclined to allow army records from the Republic of Srpska.
The United States government alleges the men were part of a brigade responsible for the massacre of thousands of Muslims during the war. The men deny any involvement with the killings.
Tilley also said he likely would allow statements made through interpreters in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, when the men first applied to enter the United States and statements made following their arrests in December.
Tilley did not enter an order but said one would be forthcoming after he reviews the issues again.
His comments came at the end of a daylong evidentiary hearing for the upcoming trial at which the attorneys for the three men challenged the veracity of the military records, as well as the statements the men made through interpreters.
Richard Butler, who spent six years as an investigator for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, testified about the recovery of records from the headquarters of the Zvornik Brigade of the Republic of Srpska in 1998.
Butler now works for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but he was present when the documents were taken for use in war crimes trials.
He explained how records from the seizure were indexed, scanned into electronic format and stored in The Hague, where the tribunal is based.
“With regard to the military records, I’m inclined to allow them,” Tilley said. “They were seized in the brigade headquarters when it was still a functioning brigade. … There’s no reason to falsify them. They have been kept in pristine condition.”
The three men’s attorneys — Scott Coalter, Chris Justice and Krispen Culbertson — also argued that the statements made on the men’s immigration forms were dubious because none of them speak English.
When the forms were filled out in Belgrade, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employee wrote down answers given through an interpreter and the men were told to sign.
Assistant U.S. Attorney L. Patrick Auld argued that the information on the forms was corroborated by statements the men made following their December arrests. Statements the men now deny.
Tilley said those issues could be raised in front of a jury.
More research about Srebrenica genocide suspects hiding in the United States:
1. Phoenix, Arizona – A Mecca for Serb Suspects of Srebrenica Massacre
2. The United States Deports Two Serbs Wanted for Srebrenica Massacre
3. Bosnian Serb Immigrants Failed to Disclose Their Past Service in Genocidal Military
4. Marko Boskic – Srebrenica Murderer
5. Butcher of Srebrenica Wants His Own Admission Kept Silent
6. Srebrenica Massacre Gunman, Marko Boskic, Will Not Face Torture Charges
7. Elusive Justice: A Man Who Gunned Down 1,200 Srebrenica Bosniaks