Minnesota man accused of hiding Bosnian war crimes


A Twin Cities man was arrested Wednesday on immigration fraud charges for failing to disclose crimes he reportedly committed during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s, the U.S. Justice Department announced.

Zdenko Jakiša, 45, of Forest Lake made an initial appearance Wednesday in federal court in Minneapolis on one count of possessing unlawfully obtained documents. He will be back in court on Monday for a detention hearing.

Jakiša is accused of committing immigration fraud by providing false information about his military service during the Bosnian conflict, his criminal record in Bosnia-Herzegovina and his commission of "crimes of moral turpitude," according to the Justice Department.

Records from Bosnia and Bosnian witnesses indicate that Jakiša committed numerous crimes, including killing an elderly Bosnian Serb woman, and kidnapping, robbing and assaulting a Bosnian Muslim man in September 1993. He did not disclose that information when he filled out his refugee and green card applications to enter the United States.

Jakiša and his wife applied to come to the U.S. in 1998, according to a June 2012 article in the Forest Lake Press that was quoted by the Associated Press. According to the article, Jakiša said he was required to serve in the military during the conflict between Croatia and Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

Jakiša has been convicted of numerous misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors in Minnesota over the past dozen years, including drunken driving and disorderly conduct, the Star Tribune reports.

More than 100,000 people were killed and a million others became refugees during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which began after the breakup of Yugoslavia.

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