150 Bosnian immigrants face deportation over war crimes

USI DeportationAround 150 Bosnians currently living in the United States are facing deportation by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement over crimes allegedly committed at the time of the war in Bosnia. In the 1990s over 120,000 immigrants from Bosnia submitted applications for US visas; however, many failed to undergo background checks and others may have kept their former military service a secret.

Old interviews and records have been pieced together by immigration officials in the United States, according to historian Michael MacQueen. “The more we dig, the more documents we find,” he told the New York Times. The US has already identified 300 immigrants who may have been involved in war crimes and this number could increase to as many as 600 by the close of the investigation.

Around 50% of the immigrants already positively identified as war criminals are believed to be Bosnian Serb soldiers who were involved in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995. Around 8,000 ethnic Bosnians were murdered and this incident was once described as “the worst [crime] on European soil since the Second World War” by Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general.

80 people have been convicted of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for their part in the massacre.

A timeline for the deportations has not been given by immigration officials; however, the process could be a lengthy one, with the New York Times saying that some of the cases could be delayed until 2019 due to the high number of immigration hearings already in play.