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21 April 2008
News

Ljubicic: Plea agreement after years in detention

BIRN BiH
The State Prosecution and the Defence for Pasko Ljubic has reached a plea agreement that will be considered by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on April 28.
The Prosecution of BiH has reached a guilt admission agreement with Pasko Ljubicic charged for war crimes in central Bosnia in 1993. The agreement has been submitted to the Court of BiH but due to "technical imperfections” it was returned to the parties for modification.

Saban Maksumic, the President of the Court Chamber stated that the agreement “does not clearly specify criminal and legal acts that the convicted party has admitted” and “there is no statement on whether the Prosecution has with drawn the introductory section of the indictment by which the convicted is charged for participating in a joint criminal venture.”

Upon the modification of these “technical imperfections” the Court of BiH will consider this agreement on April 28.

The Prosecution of BiH charges Ljubicic as the commander of the Fourth Battalion of the Military Police in Croatian Defence Council (HVO) of having ordered and participated in attacks on towns and villages in central Bosnia, such as Vitez, Busovaca and Ahmici. The Bosniak population from these areas – as stated by indictment – were kept in detention camps, harassed and murdered, and their property burgled and destroyed.

According to agreement reached so far, Ljubicic admits guilt for participating in planning attacks on Vitez as part of a coordinated HVO operation. Bosniak civilians were murdered and their property pillaged when this operation was executed on April 16, 1993.

As agreed in the deal, Ljubicic participated and issued orders to members of the Fourth battalion of the Military Police to attack the villages of Ahmici, Nadioke, Pirici and Santici, and to kill all Bosniaks who were capable of serving in the army, to shoot others and destroy their homes. The indictment states that more then hundred Bosniak civilians were murdered, and two mosques were destroyed in Ahmici village.

Ljubicic, by this agreement, admits war crimes against the population and in addition to this he is charged under the indictment with crimes against humanity.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, at the Hague passed the Ljubicic case to the Court of BiH on July 5, 2006 for further processing. Before being held at the Detention unit of the BiH Court, Ljubicic was in Scheveningen from November 21, 2001.

Ljubicic's trial before the Court of BiH commenced on May 11, 2007.

So far the Ljubicic case is the only one before the Court of BiH regarding war crimes in central Bosnia.
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