An alleged Bosnian war criminal found in Utica could be headed back to Bosnia to stand trial for murder and torture. He'll have to go through the courts here first. But our Andrew Sorensen tells us what the man is accused of doing and why Bosnia wants him back so badly.
UTICA, N.Y. -- A quiet night on South Street in Utica ended early Wednesday morning with a delivery truck full of tactical police.
Utica Police Sergeant Steve Hauck explained, "Our emergency response team entered a location and located a person who was a suspect in war crimes."
When they brought Sujleman Mujagic out of the house, he showed little emotion for a man who was caught 15 years after fleeing war crimes in Bosnia.
"I think that 5:30 in the morning, probably having the police enter your house like that is probably pretty shocking, which is the whole purpose of doing that type of raid anyway," Hauck said.
He'd been living out in the open, even owning a store above his house. But Homeland Security had secretly been investigating him for four years, letting Utica police in on the investigation only recently.
Utica police say the investigation was so secretive, not even the cameraman along for the ride had any idea what was going on until hours later.
Now Mujagic is headed to U.S. District Court to see if the charges hold up to send him back to Bosnia.
Mujagic was allegedly a platoon commander for the Army of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia, a separatist province from Bosnia. In March of 1995, court paperwork says his platoon captured two Bosnian soldiers. Mujagic then allegedly beat them and asked for the name of their commander. When they said they didn't know, he apparently shot one, killing him and shot the other in the leg. He allegedly forced that soldier to climb a hill, shooting him several more times. The man survived and identified Mujagic to authorities.
Mujagic is now being held in Cayuga County. Family members declined to comment.
Mujagic will be represented by a public defender when he goes in for a detainment hearing in Syracuse on Monday.