United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
A. Platt Timothy M. Belsan U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, CIVIL
DIVISION, Dianne Schweiner, U.S. ATTORNEY'S
OFFICE-DISTRICT OF OREGON, Attorneys for Plaintiff.
Rasema Yetisen Pro Se Defendant.
OPINION & ORDER
A. HERNÁNDEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
United States of America (“the Government”) seeks
to revoke Defendant Sammy Rasema Yetisen's naturalized
United States of America (“U.S.”) citizenship.
The Government alleges that Defendant committed war crimes in
her native country, Bosnia, and then procured her U.S.
citizenship illegally and by concealment or willful
misrepresentation of material fact. The Government moves for
judgment on the pleadings. The Court grants the
Government's motion because it concludes that Defendant
procured her citizenship illegally.
is a Bosnian Muslim. Compl. ¶ 11, ECF 1. She was born in
1972 in the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
which was then part of Yugoslavia. Id. at ¶ 8.
In the early 1990s, some of Yugoslavia's republics began
seceding, which triggered a series of ethnic-based conflicts.
Id. at ¶ 14. Tension between Bosnian Muslims
and predominantly Roman-Catholic Croats from Bosnia and
Herzegovina (“Bosnian Croats”) developed into an
open conflict known as the Croat-Bosniak War. Id. at
January 1993, Defendant joined a special-forces unit within
the Supreme Command Staff of the Army of the Republic of BiH
(Bosnia and Herzegovina) called the Zulfikar Special Purposes
Detachment (“Zulfikar”), VJ5683. Id. at
¶¶ 22, 51. On April 16, 1993, Defendant and other
members of Zulfikar attacked the village of Trusina, a
village in what is now central Bosnia. Id. at ¶
25. Defendant and other Zulfikar members targeted Bosnian
Croats. ¶¶ 13, 29-30. They executed six Bosnian
Croats, three prisoners of war and three civilians, by firing
squad. Id. at ¶ 40. They killed sixteen other
Bosnian Croats during what became known as the “Trusina
massacre.” Id. at ¶ 43. In her
Answer, Defendant states:
What the government says in its papers is not correct. They
do not understand war. Yes I was in the civil war. I was 20
years old and a female in an army of men when we went into
Trusina. The government writes like I was giving orders but I
was not, I did what the commander told us to do.
than three years after the Trusina massacre, Defendant sought
refugee status at the U.S. embassy in Austria. Id.
at ¶ 44. Defendant filed a Form I-590-Registration for
Classification as a Refugee on October 31, 1995. Compl. Ex.
C. On the form, Defendant sought refugee status based on
persecution she faced due to being Muslim. Id. She
wrote that she had “nowhere to return to in
Bosnia.” Id. Defendant states, “I told
them I was a solider in the Army and we talked all about it
and they saw my condition and what war had done.”
Answer. On the form, she stated that she had served in the
Bosnian army from September 3, 1992 until May 12, 1995, in
“branch and organization” VJ 5089. Id.
She also wrote: “I fought for Bosnia in the Bosnian
army, but when I was no longer able to do battle, I was
demobilized and left without help, shelter, and worst of all,
without food.” Id. She wrote: “I
dismissed myself and went to Austria where I have
February 2, 1996, Defendant filled out a Form G-646,
“Sworn Statement of Refugee Applying for Entry into the
United States. Compl. Ex. D. Defendant indicated that she was
not a part of “any of the following classes [that] are
not admissible to the United States”: “Aliens who
have committed or who have been convicted of a crime
involving moral turpitude[.]” Id. She also
signed the form, thereby assenting to the following
statement: “Further, I have never ordered, assisted or
otherwise participated in the persecution of any person
because of race, religion, or political opinion.”
Id. Defendant's refugee status was approved on
May 2, 1996. Compl. Ex. C. She entered the United States as a
refugee on May 15, 1996. Id.; Compl. ¶ 66.
6, 2001, Defendant applied for naturalization by filing a
Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Compl. Ex. E.
Form N-400 required Defendant to mark a “yes” or
“no” box next to several “additional
eligibility factors.” Id. Defendant marked
“no” in response to the following two questions:
(3) Have you at any time, anywhere, ever ordered, incited,
assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any
person because of race, religion, national origin, or
(15)(a) Have you ever knowingly committed any crime for which
you have not been arrested?
Id. Form N-400 also required Defendant to list her
present and past membership with “any military
service.” Id. Defendant wrote
“none.” Id. Defendant signed her Form
N-400, under penalty of perjury, attesting that the
application was “true and correct.” Id.
She signed the form again following her naturalization
interview. Id. On May 23, 2002, Defendant was issued
a Certificate of Naturalization. Compl. Ex. F.
nine years later, this Court granted the Government's
request for a certificate of extradibility, based on a
Warrant of Arrest issued by the Prosecutor's Office of
Bosnia and Herzegovina, alleging that Defendant committed war
crimes against civilians and prisoners of war. Id.
at ¶¶ 90, 97. Magistrate Judge Stewart held that
Defendant was extraditable on the alleged offenses that
constituted first degree murder. In re Extradition of
Handanovic, 829 ...