COURTSIDE: Ahmici Five - Appeal Heard

Bosnian Croats contesting trial evidence present their appeals

COURTSIDE: Ahmici Five - Appeal Heard

Bosnian Croats contesting trial evidence present their appeals

Five Bosnian Croats found guilty of war crimes in Ahmici in January 2000 presented their appeals during a three-day hearing. The prosecution team asserted that their claims were groundless.


The defendants had been found guilty of participating in a Bosnian Croat military police attack on the village of Ahmici in April 1993, when over 100 Muslim civilians were killed and virtually the whole village destroyed.


Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic were sentenced to ten and eight years respectively, Vlatko Kupreskic to six, Drago Josipovic to 15 and Vlado Santic to 25. The five defendents appealed against the verdict and sentences.


The lawyers of Vlatko Kupreskic and Drago Josipovic requested that the defendants be acquitted claiming that the witnesses' statements - accusing Kupreskic of giving logistical help to the soldiers who were attacking the village, and Josipovic of participation in the killings and attack on individual Bosniak houses - were inconsistent.


The prosecution responded that all available testimony has been heard in the original hearing and that the sentences should stand.


As for Santic and Kuprekic, prosecutors are requesting that, in addition to their verdicts for crimes against humanity, charges such as violation of the laws and customs of war are added. If the verdicts are changed, their sentences will remain the same, added the prosecution.


Presiding Appeals Chamber judge Patricia Wald announced that the appeals judgement would be passed in the upcoming months.


Vjera Bogati is an IWPR special correspondent at the Hague and journalist with SENSE News Agency.


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