Vermont refugees mum on alleged Muslim war criminal among them (updated)

Edin Sakoc, 54, is arrested for charges he lied about war crimes. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

University Dean:  Very common for war criminals to seek refugee status….hmmm!



Federal prosecutors say In July 1992, during the Bosnian war, Edin Sakoc kidnapped and raped a Bosnian Serb and aided in the murder of her mother and aunt before burning down the family’s home. 21 years later, the 54-year-old Bosnian Muslim and naturalized Vermonter faces trial in Burlington.

Waell Murray is a Palestinian American who immigrated in 1984. He runs Global Market in Burlington and says resettled Bosnians account for about 40 percent of his business. But he says no one’s talking about the Burlington refugee recently accused of war crimes. “People like to talk when they come in here and they like to talk about issues, world issues and politics and stuff, but this particular issue nobody has discussed with me yet,” he said.

Howard Ball, a former Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Vermont, says its very common for war criminals to seek refugee status. He says military strategy during the Bosnian war dictated rape and murder as part of a genocidal campaign. U.S. Officials are charging Sakoc with lying about his background to immigration officials, with a maximum penalty of ten years behind bars. But Ball says prosecutors are more likely to seek deportation than prison time.

“He could face trial if he goes back, whether he will be indicted by a Bosnian court, we don’t know,” he said.

More than 1,700 Bosnian refugees came to Vermont between 1992 and 2005. But none of the dozens we contacted are willing to speak on-camera.

In this wrap-up paragraph, I don’t know what the five year reference is to, but you can bet your bottom dollar he and his family are being at least partially supported to this day by social services provided through the generosity of the US and Vermont taxpayer.

The Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program* declined our multiple requests for an interview, citing concerns with appearing to speak for a community with diverse and differing opinions. [LOL! They don’t want to speak ill of a Muslim I bet–ed].  Many of those they’ve helped no longer qualify for special services, as those rights evaporate once a refugee spends five years in the states.

Photo:  The photo is from a report on this case, here, at Fox News 44. Note that Sakoc has been in the US since 2001 but needed a translator to understand the court proceedings.   I wonder how much this guy cost us over the last 12 years!  And, how much his legal proceedings will cost us going forward!  Just a reminder, revisit the latest on the conviction of a war criminal here in New Hampshire just a few weeks ago after years (and millions of dollars spent) in the court system.

*VRRP!  It couldn’t happen to a more deserving state (the Land of Leahy)!   Diversity is beautiful, right!

***Update August 4th***

Reader ‘Mikefromlongisland’ alerted us to this more detailed account of the charges against Sakoc.  From AP at the Montana Standard:

Sakoc is a Bosnian Muslim. He moved to Vermont in 2001, became a legal resident of the United States in 2004 and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in June 2007. The Burlington Free Press reported Sakoc has a wife and a 6-year-old daughter.

The people Sakoc is accused of victimizing were Orthodox Christian Bosnian Serbs.

The Bosnian Serb family had moved from a home in the southern Bosnian municipality of Capljina to the home of a Bosnian Croat family nearby, the indictment said. Most Bosnian Serbs in the village had fled to safer areas, but a woman remained to care for two people who were too old to travel far, it said.

On or around July 9, 1992, Sakoc and an unnamed co-conspirator went to the home where the victims were staying, took the woman from the home, raped her and took her to the Dretelj prison camp, the indictment said.

Later that night or early the next day, Sakoc and the co-conspirator returned to the home, the indictment said. With help from Sakoc, the co-conspirator fatally shot the two elderly people, burned the home down and separately burned the victims’ bodies, it said.

The two-count indictment did not include charges directly tied to those events but charged that Sakoc had lied to immigration authorities three times when asked if he had participated in crimes of persecution and moral turpitude: when he applied for refugee status in the U.S. in 2001, when he applied for permanent legal residency in 2004 and when he applied for citizenship in 2007.

Catholic Church in Chicago to sponsor two refugee families

O.K. So what is so interesting about that?

They are talking about raising $1600 privately to sponsor a family for the first three months, and that is about what Catholic Charities or the Bishops get per family from the US taxpayer.  So does this mean that since the local church will sponsor for three months, the local Catholic Charities contractor gets to pocket what they got from the feds for the same family?

I’ve been an advocate for private sponsorship from the earliest days of writing this blog, HOWEVER, my plan would leave the contractor-middleman (in this case some bureaucracy of the Church out of it), and my reform suggestion is that the family be supported privately for a year or two (three months is hardly time enough to find a job and be self-sufficient) with NO dependence on taxpayer-funded social services.  In that way, the parishioners wishing to help a family would be doing so out of a purely private charitable motivation and there would be a heightened opportunity for the family to truly assimilate.

Here is the story from Chicago.  Again, does this mean the funds received by the contractor for this family can be pocketed?

RIVERSIDE – Earlier this year, St. Mary Parish of Riverside started an initiative to help refugee families resettling in Chicago become self-sufficient in three months by providing housing, job opportunities, financial support and a medium to develop relationships with the church’s parishioners.

St. Mary Parish began its Refugee Sponsorship Committee in March in collaboration with the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program and plans to help resettle two families by the end of this year.

It needs to raise $1,600 per family to be able to supply services, including a welcome pack, subsidized rent for 90 days, an apartment in Rodgers Park, financial help and assistance in finding a job.

The church has raised $1,556 so far and has furniture in storage for the potential apartment.

“The goal is to ease [them] in,” Dalia Rocotello, a member of the Refugee Sponsorship Committee said.

To be clear, my plan would naturally limit the number of refugees entering the US by the amount of private charity available for their care until they are truly on their feet.