US Citizens Arrested for War Crimes

Two US citizens of Bosnian origin, a man and a woman, have been arrested at the request of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to face accusations that they committed war crimes there 18 years ago.

Edin Dzeko, 39, and Rasema Handanovic, 38, are accused of being members of the Bosnian army’s special unit “Zulfikar”.

On April 16, 1993, the unit attacked Trusina village and killed more than a dozen Croat civilians and prisoners of war, and wounded four civilians including two infants, according to the extradition request.

Dzeko became a naturalised US citizen in 2006 after coming to the United States in 2001 and has lived in Everett, Washington. The extradition request describes him as a former senior staff member of the Bosnian army unit.

During the village attack he allegedly threw a man into the yard of a house, then shot and killed him, according to US authorities. When the dead man’s wife would not stop grieving, Dzeko allegedly shot her in the head and killed her.

Handanovic, who became a naturalised US citizen in 2002, was living in a suburb of Portland, Oregon.

US authorities coordinated her arrest with that of Dzeko, and both are named in the same court papers.

During the attack on Trusina, Handanovic shot a civilian woman two or three times in the chest, killing her, and also shot an elderly couple, according to the extradition request.

Both Dzeko and Handanovic are accused of having joined a firing squad-style execution of unarmed Croatian solders and civilians that day.

In Bosnia, the charges against Dzeko and Handanovic are punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, US officials said.

The killings occurred during the 1993-94 war between Bosnian Muslims and Croats, which was ended by a Washington-brokered peace agreement.

A Bosnian State War Crimes Court was set up in 2005 to try thousands of war crimes suspects from that time period and take over mid- and low-ranking cases from the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.

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