Reaction to Arrest of Bosnian in Burlington

Reaction to Arrest of Bosnian in Burlington

A Vermonter sits in jail accused of lying about war crimes in Bosnia but prosecutors have said little about what led agents to arrest Edin Sakoc some 20-years after the war.
BURLINGTON, Vt. - A Vermonter sits in jail accused of lying about war crimes in Bosnia but prosecutors have said little about what led agents to arrest Edin Sakoc some 20-years after the war.

Even decades after the war, many Bosnians now living in Vermont did not want to talk which shows you how that violent time in Bosnia still affects people.

But we did talk with an expert in the Bosnian war about the arrest of Sakoc.

After living more than a decade in Vermont, 54-year-old Sakoc was arrested in Burlington Friday, accused of lying about committing war crimes in Bosnia. Prosecutors say Sakoc kidnapped, raped, and helped in two murders. They say he didn't come clean about the crimes when applying to enter the U.S. and for U.S. citizenship.

"Reason is the first casualty. Truth is the second casualty of war," says Howard Ball, a former UVM professor.

Ball has written books about the Bosnian war.

Ball says that from the limited we know about Sakoc he was likely an average Bosnian and not a major war criminal despite the crimes he is accused of committing.

"It happened. It happened a lot. He wasn't the only person who did these things in war," says Ball.

Ball says Sakoc's crimes might have come up during war crime trials that are going on now.

Ball is working on a book about the search for the dead in Bosnia and he says they're still hunting down the people who committed the crimes.

"We don't even know how many more did this," says Ball.

Sakoc has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to immigration authorities. A judge ordered him detained because he's too much of a risk for taking off.

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