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25 September 2007
News

Ljubicic: Scenes in Ahmici and Vitez

BIRN BiH
Another UNPROFOR British battalion officer has testified about the suffering of civilians in Central Bosnia.
Yet another former member of the British Battalion with the UN Peace Forces in BiH has testified, as a Prosecution witness, about the war happenings in Vitez and Ahmici in 1993.

"Passing through Vitez we saw corpses near all houses, by house windows and by the road. I suppose I saw about 50 killed men," witness Michael Dooley said, adding that he did not see any "Muslim soldiers"
in Vitez at that time, but that there were members of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO).

"A group of soldiers was going towards the houses in which there were civilians who were still alive. We turned our guns towards the soldiers and we got ready to resist should they start shooting. They turned around and left," the witness has said.

Ljubicic, former commander of the Fourth HVO Military Police Battalion, is charged with having ordered and participated in the attacks on civilians in Busovaca, Vitez and the surrounding villages in the course of 1993. During these attacks, the civilians were deported or killed, while their property was destroyed or pillaged.

Dooley claims to have visited Ahmici, after being in Vitez, because the "operational centre" informed him that some "problems were noticed" in that area.

"I did not see one single living person. There were many killed families. It seemed that they had run out of their houses and they had been killed in the courtyards," the witness said, adding that he collected the corpses together with other UNPROFOR members.

"We transferred the bodies to a safe place so that their family members would be able to find them when they heard what had happened," Dooley said, adding that they "collected between 20 and 30" bodies in one part of the village only, but there were many more in the other parts of the settlement.

The witness also claims that they saw about 15 HVO soldiers on the way out of Ahmici, and that UNPROFOR "would have started fighting with them had they known of any survivors in the village".

Answering Defence attorney Tomislav Jonjic's questions during the cross-examination, Dooley has said that it would have taken at least 100 soldiers for the "operation" in Ahmici.

The Prosecution of BiH considers that Ljubicic lead the attack on the village of Ahmici on 16 April 1993.

The trial is due to continue on Wednesday, 26 September 2007.
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