Justice Department Seeks to Obtain Denaturalization of Man with Alleged Participation in Extrajudicial Killings during the Balkans Conflict
The United States recently filed a civil denaturalization complaint in the Northern District of Iowa against a 51-year old man who allegedly obtained his naturalized U.S. citizenship by fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced.
Eso Razic, a native of the former Yugoslavia and subsequently a citizen of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, allegedly concealed his service in multiple paramilitary organizations during the conflict in the Balkans in the early 1990s. The United States alleges that while serving as a member of those combatant groups, Razic participated in the extrajudicial killing of three individuals, including a wounded prisoner of war. The complaint alleges that Razic fraudulently obtained permanent resident status and citizenship by misrepresenting and concealing his membership in and conduct with these groups.
“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that our immigration system serves the national interest,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “When our immigration system and public safety are undermined by fraudsters, the Justice Department will prosecute them and use civil denaturalization to protect the integrity of our nation’s immigration system and defend the security of our nation.”
“Laws that regulate access to United States citizenship must be respected,” said Peter E. Deegan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa. “Our office will work vigorously with our enforcement partners to ensure that naturalization is reserved for qualified individuals and that the rule of law is upheld.”
“This denaturalization filing demonstrates the U.S. government’s enduring commitment to identify and bring to justice those who have committed human rights violations in any part of the world,” said ICE Homeland Security Investigations Deputy Executive Associate Director Derek Benner. “The United States will not serve as a safe haven for those who have committed such atrocities and then fled from justice. We will identify, locate, and work to prosecute and/or remove human rights violators in the U.S. regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or religious background.”
The case was investigated by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Human Rights Violator and War Crimes Unit (HRVWCU) and the Civil Division’s Office of Immigration Litigation, District Court Section (OIL-DCS), with support from ICE’s Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) Human Rights Law Section (HRLS). The case is being jointly prosecuted by Counsel for National Security Aaron Petty of OIL-DCS’s National Security and Affirmative Litigation Unit (NS/A Unit) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Schunk of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa, with support from Assistant Chief Counsel Abby Meyer of ICE OPLA, Omaha Office.
The claims made in the complaint are allegations only, and there have been no determinations of liability.