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26 September 2007
News

Ljubicic: Houses on Fire in Ahmici

A Prosecution witness claims to have seen members of HVO - the "Jokers" and the "Knights" - in the village of Ahmici in April 1993.
Protected Prosecution witness B has spoken about an attack on Ahmici village committed by the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) in April 1993.

"In the morning of 16 April 1993, while my mother and I were running to the basement in our house, we noticed we were surrounded. Five soldiers in camouflage uniforms with HVO marks, "Jokers" and "Knights", followed us to the basement. They were looking for men. They told us we should go to Zenica as it was in 'our country, Alija's country'," witness B recalled.

The Prosecution of BiH charges Pasko Ljubicic, in his capacity as commander of the Fourth HVO Military Police Battalion, with having participated in the "planning and execution of the attacks on the towns and the surrounding villages in the Lasva valley". The indictment alleges that members of HVO military police and the "Jokers" attacked the villages of Ahmici, Nadioke, Pirici and Santici on 16 April 1993. In the course of the attack on Ahmici most village residents were murdered or deported, while their property was demolished.

"The soldiers ordered us to get out of our house and we headed towards Vitez, together with other women and children. I saw smoke and houses on fire. On our way to Pirici village we saw soldiers in black and camouflage uniforms," witness B told the court. The convoy of the displaced persons stopped in that village. The people were detained in one house in that village.

Witness B has said that all of them moved on towards "the school in Dubravica, as per an order issued by a person named Vidovic" on 18 April 1993. They stayed in the school until 1 May that year.

"I saw trenches surrounding the school. We were met by two soldiers who started separating us. Women with small children were sent to one room, while the others were sent to the sports hall. That is where I went, together with my mother. Soldiers used to come in the sports hall and take men with them to dig trenches. Later on, I found out that they also took women out of the second room. I guess they raped them," witness B has said.

During cross-examination, the witness did not confirm ever seeing anyone being maltreated, beaten or raped during the period of detention in the school that lasted until 1 May.

The witness claims that civilians, who were detained in the school, were transported, with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), by buses to Zenica, which was under the control of the Army of BiH at the time.

The trial is due to continue on 8 October 2007.
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