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3 November 2006
News

Lucic pleads "not guilty"

BIRN BiH
Former Bosnian Croat military policeman denies committing crimes against Bosniaks in Kresevo.
Kreso Lucic, a former military police commander of the Croat Defence Council (HVO), has pleaded not guilty on all counts of the indictment which charges him with crimes committed in central Bosnia.

Lucic is charged that in June and July 1993 he, jointly with members of the military police, committed crimes against humanity on the territory of municipality Kresevo.

He is charged that, during an attack on the villages Rakova Noga, Crnici, Bjelovici, Bukve and Ramici, he forcefully took and detained civilians in camps at the elementary school Ivo Lola Ribar and storage shed Sunje, both in Kresevo.

Detainees were kept in these facilities in inhumane conditions and were taken to work as forced labor on a daily basis.

Lucic is also charged that he took camp inmates from Sunje camp to the Elektroprivreda building in Kresevo, where he tortured them by kicking them and hitting them with his fists and wooden bats on all parts of their bodies. Then he ordered policemen who were his subordinates to continue with the torturing.

The prosecution also believes that on July 18, 1993, during questioning of a civilian in Elektroprivreda building, Lucic ordered policemen to hit the civilian with wooden bats and fists on his back, due to which the inmate lost consciousness on multiple occasions. The policemen then allegedly poured water on the victim so that he would regain consciousness, after which they continued hitting him.

Lucic surrendered to the government in April of this year and has been in custody ever since.

Kresimir Zubak, the indictee's defense attorney, has asked the court to release Lucic.

"The fact that he surrendered on hi sown indicates that it is in his interest to complete this as soon as possible," Zubak said, and offered to surrender the indictee's passport as proof that his client would not try to escape.

Judge Hilmo Vucinic said that such are quest from the defense had already been denied and asked the attorney to present new reasons why it should be approved.

"He is the father of three underage children and lives in Siroki Brijeg on social assistance. He has to feed his children," Zubak said and added that if the court does not fulfill this request he will ask for Lucic to be transferred to the Cantonal court in Travnik.

The next hearing will be held in the next 15 days.
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