Uncategorized @bs

Pasko Ljubicic arrives in Sarajevo

23. September 2006.00:00
Former HVO commander Pasko Ljubicic has been transferred from The Hague to Sarajevo, where he was ordered to be held in custody for one month.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

On the same day that he was handed over to the Bosnian government, Pasko Ljubicic appeared in court in Sarajevo for the first time and was ordered to be detained for one month.

In accordance with its exit strategy, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) handed Ljubicic, who is charged with criminal acts of violating laws and customs of war and crime against humanity, over to Sarajevo for trial.

According to the Hague indictment, Ljubicic – a former commander of 6th battalion of military police of Croat defence council (HVO) – is charged with individual and command responsibility for crimes committed by HVO members during the war in central Bosnia, specifically in Lasva valley.

The ICTY prosecution alleges that during the attack on Vitez and surrounding villages, Ljubicic and his troops killed more than 100 Bosniak civilians, detained and tortured many others and destroyed Bosniak property, including two mosques in Ahmici village.

Ljubicic surrendered on November 21, 2001 and was later transferred to the Scheveningen detention unit in The Hague. In April of this year, the ICTY decided to transfer his case to the Bosnian court, where the prosecution would adapt the indictment to existing local laws.

During his first appearance in Sarajevo, Ljubicic asked to remain free until the beginning of the trial and offered “all my mobile and immobile property as security”. Ljubicic also said that he would await trial in his family home in Mostar, and expressed his desire to be tried in Croatia, of which he is also a citizen.

Prosecutor David Schwendiman objected to these requests. He added that Ljubicic should be held until trial because the indictee had waited a few years after the ICTY indictment was made public until he surrendered in 2001, during which time he was in hiding under the name Toni Rajic.

The prosecutor also believes that Ljubicic, as former internal affairs ministry employee, could be in a position to influence some of the witnesses – or that some of his former fellow soldiers who are still loyal to their commander could do so on his behalf.

Pasko Ljubicic is the ninth Hague indictee to be handed over to the Bosnian court.

This post is also available in: Bosnian