- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 22, 2001

ZAGREB, Croatia A former Bosnian Croat military police chief surrendered yesterday to the U.N. war crimes court on the charges that he ordered a 1993 massacre of Muslim civilians.

The tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, unsealed the indictment against Pasko Ljubicic last month. It accused him of commanding militias that killed at least 113 persons in and around the central Bosnian village of Ahmici in April 1993, including dozens of women and children

The U.N. indictment against Mr. Ljubicic was made public shortly after three Bosnian Croats were acquitted by the tribunal of the Ahmici massacres and released from their four-year stay in the tribunal's prison.

Mr. Ljubicic was in hiding for more than a year after Zagreb authorities issued an arrest warrant for him and three associates on suspicion of taking part in the Ahmici massacre.

The warrant was based on documents found in archives of Croatia's late president, Franjo Tudjman, indicating a conspiracy under the former leader to help key suspects in the Ahmici slaughter by giving them false identities.

Vowing to prove his innocence, Mr. Ljubicic, 35, surrendered to police in Zagreb earlier this month. His associates remain at large. Mr. Ljubicic was accompanied to Amsterdam by his lawyer, Tomislav Jonjic, who said that Mr. Ljubicic "is not afraid to face the indictment and we'll do all to counter the allegations."

Croatian newspapers speculated that the case against Mr. Ljubicic could also vindicate his superior officer, Bosnian Croat Gen. Tihomir Blaskic, who was sentenced to 45 years by the tribunal in March 2000. At his trial, Blaskic suggested that Mr. Ljubicic's unit violated his commands and committed atrocities he only learned about much later.

The tribunal has indicted more than 100 persons.


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