Jezik / Language:
21 December 2006

Ljubicic indictment confirmed

The Court of BiH has confirmed the adapted indictment and an extended period of detention for former Croat Defence Council commander Pasko Ljubicic.
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has accepted the adapted indictment against Pasko Ljubicic and made a decision to extend his detention for another month.

Pasko Ljubicic, former commander of 4th Battalion of the Croat Defence Council (HVO) military police, is another indictee previously accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) who has been transferred to the court of BiH as part of the former's exit strategy.

The Court accepted the prosecution's proposal for extension of detention, which they had requested citing the possibility that the indictee may escape or attempt to influence potential witnesses.

Although defence attorney Branka Praljak offered property belonging to the indictee's family as guarantee that his client would not escape and that he would respond to every call to trial, the court did not accept that.

According to the indictment - which the prosecution has adapted to local laws based on the one filed in The Hague - Ljubicic is charged with participation in an attack on civilian population in Busovaca and Vitez municipalities during the disputes between the Army of BiH and HVO.

He is also charged with detaining unarmed civilians, their use as forced labour and other illegal purposes.

The indictment also includes allegations of murder. In its first four counts, Ljubicic is charged that in early morning hours of January 25, 1993 he "participated and ordered members of 4th Battalion of military police to attack Bosniaks in Busovaca, at which 27 civilians were killed".

One of the counts describes the attack executed on April 16, 1993 on the villages of Ahmici, Nadioke, Pirici and Santici, during which more than 100 Bosniak civilians were killed.

Ljubicic is also charged that from January to July 1993 he, jointly with members of 4th Battalion of HVO military police, illegally detained Bosniak civilians from Vitez and Busovaca municipalities. The detainees were taken to a Vitez cinema; Kaonik prison near Busovaca; Vitez veterinary station; the elementary school in Dravica and SDK facilities in Vitez.

The civilians were detained there, beaten and subjected to other forms of heavy physical and psychological abuse after which they were released and used as human shield in front lines in the following locations - Kratine, Kula, Rijeka, Krcevine, Dubravica, Sivrino selo, Tolovici, Topole, Komare, Bakije, Gradina, Oblice, Krizancevo Selo, Strane, Putis, Prosje, Rovna, area towards Merdani, near Nadioci and Pirici and in areas near Loncari.

The indictment said during the public session that he wants to "explain" his role in the war.

"The indictment is really heavy and,if it were true, my own mother would convict me of those acts without this court," Ljubicic said.

Ljubicic surrendered to the Croatian authorities on November 9, 2001 and was immediately transferred to the ICTY in The Hague. A decision was made in September of this year to that he would be send to Sarajevo to face trial at the court of BiH.
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