Thursday, 4:30 PM
Alleged Bosnian war criminal faces deportation
By Megan Tench, Globe Staff
Marko Boskic, a Bosnian immigrant living in Peabody, kept a gruesome secret from US government officials when he filled out immigration forms to enter the United States, prosecutors said today.
The local construction worker was formerly a soldier in the Serbian military's 10th Sabotage Detachment who forced 1,200 Muslim men and boys onto buses, unloaded them onto a farm outside Srebrenica, lined them up in groups of ten, and shot them as part of a horrific campaign of "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia in the 1990s, prosecutors said.
Boskic's trial, which could lead to his deportation, began today. The alleged war criminal, who was charged in 2004 with five counts of lying to federal officials so he could emigrate to the United States as a refugee.
During opening statements, Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn described in grisly detail the massacre of over 1,000 Muslims at Branjevo farm during the summer of 1995. Less than a handful of people survived, he said. One survivor, who said he hid under dead bodies before escaping beneath a hail of bullets, testified today. Another survivor is scheduled to testify tomorrow.
"They will be reunited with that man, Marko Boskic," Auerhahn told jurors while pointing to Boskic in the courtroom.
But Boskic's lawyer, Max Stern, told the jury that Boskic was also a victim in the bloody events that took place in Bosnia in the 1990s. Boskic, a Croatian Roman Catholic, was arrested after helping his family flee. Stern told jurors that Boskic was held by the Serbian Army in a concentration camp for six months and was released only on the condition that he join the Serb's 10th Sabotage Detachment. When Boskic refused the order to participate in the massacre, a commander threatened to kill him.
"He did it because a gun was put to his head and he was told, 'You do it or you will be shot,' " Stern said.