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Kupreskici & Others Trial: Adapting to Blaskic's version of the Ahmici events

By Mirko Klarin

The Defence of six Bosnian Croats, accused of directly participating in the slaughter of Muslims in Ahmici, is beginning to slowly adapt its version of the events of 16 April 1993 to that offered by General Blaskic in his testimony.

At the beginning of the presentation of its case and the hearing of its witnesses (34 thus far), the Defence was describing the events in Ahmici as an "armed conflict", in which there were "victims on both side."

One of last week's witnesses, Dragan Vidovic, maintained that he had been maning a position near Ahmici with Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic for three days, when they were collected by the Military Police and taken to dig trenches on the front-line in the near-by village Pirica. In the course of ordering them to stand a proper guard, one of the policemen allegedly told them, "If the Muslims break through that line, we'll do the same to you as we did to them [in Ahmici]." When counsel for the Kupreskic brothers asked the witness who the "we", referred to, Vidovic replied, "Military police."

According to the same witness, not all the Croats were woken up by shooting that started about 5.30 a.m. On the night of April 15, he said he was woken up by a call from a Nenad Santic who invited him to a meeting in the house of the local chief of civilian defense. The meeting was attended by seven or eight Croats who were told that the "situation was not good, that the Muslims could attack Croats, and that they should immediately move their families to safety."

When asked to identify Santic, Vidovic told the court that he did not know whether he was with the civilian defence group, but that he was nevertheless very active in the HDZ -the Bosnian Croat branch of Croatia's ruling party, and that he was "well-informed". By introducing "a well informed activist of the HDZ" into the story of Ahmici, a link with one more part of Blaskic's version of events has been established -namely, the one concerning "parallel political and military channels" in which crimes against the Muslim inhabitants of the village were planned, organised and executed.

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