ROANOKE, Va. -

A former Bosnian prison guard who lives in Roanoke and is accused of abusing Serbian prisoners has been cleared to be extradited back to Bosnia.

Almaz Nezirovic is wanted in Bosnia to stand trial on the charge of War Crimes against civilians. The allegations are said to have occurred between April and July 1992 during the Bosnian War.

Nezirovic, 54, was a prison guard for the military group HVO. He is accused of beating, humiliating, and traumatizing civilian prisoners.

After several hearings, U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert S. Ballou certified the extradition request Monday to the Secretary of State. The ruling provides legal basis for the Secretary of State to decide whether or not Nezirovic will be extradited to Bosnia to face the war crime charges.

“Almaz Nezirovic stands charged with horrific acts of torture by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy wrote in a news release. “Today’s ruling moves this matter one step closer to ultimate resolution in that country. Mr. Nezirovic can now be subject to extradition and surrender to his home country, where he will stand trial for these offenses.”

After the war in the former Yugoslavia ended in 1995, Nezirovic sought refugee status in the United States, where he later applied for a green card and to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

According to an indictment previously unsealed, Nezirovic lied on his applications by claiming he had never committed crimes for which he was not arrested.

Here is the news release from the U.S. District Attorney's Office:

A former guard at the Rabic camp in Derventa Municipality of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who allegedly committed abuses against Serb civilians being detained at the camp, has been certified for extradition to Bosnia by a federal judge sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke.

Almaz Nezirovic, 54, of Roanoke, Va., is wanted in Bosnia to stand trial on the charge of War Crimes Against Civilians, allegations that arise out of actions claimed to have occurred between April and July 1992 during the Bosnian War. In April 1992, Nezirovic joined a paramilitary group, the HVO, and became a prison guard. Bosnian officials charge that while serving as a prison guard, Nezirovic committed war crimes by beating, humiliating and traumatizing unarmed civilian prisoners, causing severe personal injury.

In July 2012, the United States, on behalf of the government of Bosnia, filed a complaint to extradite Nezirovic pursuant to an extradition treaty between the two countries that has been in place since 1901 and the United Nations Convention Against Torture. After several hearings before United States Magistrate Judge Robert S. Ballou, yesterday the court found sufficient evidence to sustain the allegation and certified the extradition request to the Secretary of State. Today’s ruling provides the legal basis for the Secretary of State to decide whether Nezirovic will be extradited to Bosnia, where war crimes charges are pending against him.

“Almaz Nezirovic stands charged with horrific acts of torture by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “Today’s ruling moves this matter one step closer to ultimate resolution in that country. Mr. Nezirovic can now be subject to extradition and surrender to his home country, where he will stand trial for these offenses.”

The investigation of the case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and the Office of International Affairs. United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy and Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Wright are prosecuting the case for the United States.