Utican arrested for alleged war crimes in Bosnia
Posted in the Utica Forum
#1 Nov 28, 2012
More than seventeen years ago, two soldiers in the Bosnian army were beaten by hand and the stocks of rifles and shot.
One man was killed March 6, 1995, when he was shot with an AK-47. Another escaped with gunshot wounds and a broken shin.
The escaped soldiers recollection paired with a four-year investigation resulted Wednesday in the arrest of Sulejman Mujagic, a 50-year-old Utica resident who was a former platoon commander in a Bosnian opposition force.
Mujagic was accused by federal law enforcement of the murder and torture of two separate soldiers in his home country of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
He was arrested without incident at his home above a variety store he owns. A phone listed in Mujagic's name rang unanswered Wednesday night. A man who answered the phone at the variety store, Mixed Products on South Street, declined comment.
Mujagic moved to Utica in July 1997 and became a U.S. citizen in February. He is being held at a detention facility in Cayuga County pending a detention hearing on Monday.
The arrest was pursuant to an extradition request from the Bosnia-Herzegovina government, according to a release sent by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
Mujagic was charged in Bosnia-Herzegovina with the unlawful killing of the enemy and unlawful wounding and torture of a prisoner of war, the department said.
Mujagic commanded the 3rd Platoon, 3rd Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade of the Army of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia, the platoon that is accused of shooting and torturing the two Bosnian soldiers.
According to the court documents, if he did not shoot or torture the soldiers, he ordered his men to do so.
A warrant for his detention and arrest was issued Jan. 22, 2008, by the Cantonal Court in Bihac of the Una-Sana Canton in Bosnia, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.
Western Bosnia was a separatist region opposed to the Bosnian government during the war. The Bosnian War was between the Serbs, mainly members of the Orthodox faith, and Bosnian Muslims. Also involved in the war were Catholic Croats.
Sakib Duracak, the president of the Bosnian Islamic Association of Utica, said the local Bosnian community still is reeling nearly 20 years after the war.
Whoever was doing those things 20 years ago had to be brought to the justice, Duracak said.The families of the killed people basically deserve justice.
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