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Kordic & Cerkez Trial Continues

Blaskic judgement bodes ill for Bosnian Croat political and military leaders, Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez, as the prosecution case draws to a close.

The sentencing of former Bosnian Croat general, Tihomir Blaskic, to 45 years imprisonment, bodes ill for former political leader of the Croats in central Bosnia, Dario Kordic, who stands accused of many of the same crimes.

The Blaskic judgement directly referred to Kordic in some of its conclusions. Initially named together with Blaskic in the Lasva valley indictment, the two were tried separately only because Blaskic surrendered to the Tribunal 18 months before Kordic.

In the penultimate week of the prosecution's case against Kordic and his co-accused Mario Cerkez, the notorious crimes committed in Ahmici have again been raised in connection with the two defendants.

While examining witness, Remy Landry, a former member of the European Community monitoring Mission (ECMM) stationed at the regional centre in Zenica in 1993, the prosecutor asked if it was possible to attribute the crimes to "uncontrolled elements". Landry indirectly rejected such a possibility saying that "without attempting to guess who gave the order" the Ahmici attack was a well orchestrated action during which the whole area was sealed off by HVO.

"Dario Kordic was a powerful man in central Bosnia and Tihomir Blaskic was more or less commanding the troops. They had more or less direct links between them," Landry said.

The prosecutor then reminded the court that Cerkez was at the time commander of the HVO Brigade in the Vitez municipality, which included Ahmici.

One witness described how her family was killed during the attack on Ahmici. On 16 April 1993, Nura Mujanovic lost her son, husband and several members of her extended family. She testified that a day before the attack she saw Kordic on television saying that his fighters are prepared and waiting for orders. Although Mujanovic did not recognise the soldiers carrying out the killings and burnings in Ahmici, she confirmed to the prosecutor that her daughter later recognised some Croats from the surrounding area. The prosecutor was trying to demonstrate that regular HVO troops, members of Cerkez's Vitez Brigade, participated in the attack alongside members of the special units.

The prosecution will conclude the presentation of evidence this week.