Wednesday, September 12, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 12,2007) - The trial before the Bosnian State Court of Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic heard testimony of a British commander whose units visited a Bosnian village Ahmici village after the massacre of its residents.

British military commander,Geoffrey Thomas,recalled the scenes that greeted his unit upon arrival in the central Bosnian village of Ahmici, 24 hours after its Bosnian residents were massacred by the Croatian aggressor in April 1993.

Thomas, who was a squad commander with the British UNPROFOR testified at the trial of Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic, charged with crimes committed against Bosnian civilians in Vitez area of central Bosnia.

"I arrived in Ahmici on 17 April," said Thomas. "When we entered the village some houses were still on fire."

"One or two residents were searching the ruins of their houses. I did not see any corpses," Thomas added.

He recalled meeting a group of about 50 villagers.They claimed to have been attacked by the Croatian aggressor and said that they were on their way to a refugee centre in Travnik, Thomas said.

Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic is charged with having planned and participated in the attacks on the villages and towns in central Bosnia which resulted in deportation and murder of Bosnian civilians and destruction of their property.

Croatian war criminal is charged with persecutions, murder, violence to life and person, devastation not justified by military necessity, destruction or wilful damage to institutions dedicated to religion or education, plunder of public or private property and cruel treatment.

The indictment alleges that on 16 April 1993,members of the Croatian aggressor's forces, including members of the "Jokers" squad, attacked Ahmici, Pirici, Nadioke and Santici villages.

During the attack on Ahmici, about 100 Bosnian civilians were killed by the Croatian aggressor, while their houses were destroyed and two mosques were mined.

Thomas said that after the British UNPROFOR left Ahmici they saw an "alpine house or a bunker" and 20-30 soldiers in black uniforms standing next to it.

Asked by prosecutor Philip Alcock to explain which military formation they belonged to, the witness said he called them HOS (Croatian Armed Forces).

Thomas added that HOS was general term used for forces that were considered more extreme and violent than the "regular" Croatian troops.

Asked if there was a link between the "Jokers" and HOS, the witness replied that he "cannot see a difference between the two formations".

The witness said that UNPROFOR had tried to talk to Croatians in order to halt the conflict between the Croatians living in Bosnia and Bosnians in 1993 and 1994, "but they were not interested".

Thomas had previously testified before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at the trial of Croatian war criminal Tihomir Blaskic, former commander of the Croatian aggressor's formations in central Bosnia, who was sentenced to nine years in prison and has since been released.

The trial of Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic will continue on September 21.

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