A naturalized US citizen from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nada Tomanic, has been arrested in Morgantown, West Virginia, on suspicion that she hid her role during the war in BiH as a member of the infamous Zulfikar unit, the US Department of Justice has said.
Zulfikar was a unit of what was called in the early 1990s the Army of RBiH, infamous for the war crimes committed by its members, including the killing of 24 Croat civilians and Croat Defence Council members, who had surrendered, in the village of Trusina in 1993.
Tomanic, 51, is suspected of having taken part in the abuse of Serb prisoners as a member of that unit.
She arrived in the United States in 1997 as a refugee and hid her war past when applying for US citizenship, which she obtained in 2012.
Tomanic is now charged with two counts of unlawful procurement of naturalization. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each count. A conviction would also result in the automatic revocation of her US citizenship, the Department of Justice said in a press release.
Her war past was uncovered by the FBI, with the assistance of the Ministry of Justice of BiH, Ministry of Justice of Serbia, and the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the successor to the Hague war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,
“The FBI, our international partners, and the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center are fervently committed to investigating human rights abuses no matter where or how long ago the atrocity occurred,” the press release said, calling on everyone with information about human rights violators to report them.
Members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993, “took civilian Bosnian Serb prisoners to Mount Igman to perform forced labor, such as digging trenches, foxholes, dugouts, roads, and
shelters,” the indictment says. ” Zulfikar Special Unit soldiers committed abuses against the Bosnian Serb prisoners on Mount Igman, including physical beatings and other abuses. Zulfikar Special Unit soldiers also subjected the Bosnian Serb prisoners to threats, verbal abuse, and intimidation.”
Tomanic is believed to have served as an armed guard on Mount Igman, where she allegedly used her boots, fists, baton, rifle and a piece of wood to beat prisoners, the indictment states. Tomanic and other Zulfikar Special Unit soldiers also allegedly subjected the Bosnian Serb victims to “humiliating and degrading verbal abuse and insults,” according to the indictment.