Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Sentence for Ahmici Massacre Confirmed

By Merdijana Sadovic in Sarajevo (TU No 496, 9-Apr-07)
The tribunal’s appeals judges last week confirmed the trial chamber's sentence of 20 years' imprisonment for former Bosnian Croat military police officer Miroslav Bralo for the crimes he committed in central Bosnia in 1993.

At that time, Bralo was a member of Croatian Military Council’s special military police unit, known as the "Jokers".

Bralo was charged with participation in the April 1993 attacks on the Muslim-held villages of Ahmici and Nadioci, near Vitez.

According to the indictment, on April 16, 1993 Bralo participated in an attack on Ahmici, “the objective of which was to ethnically cleanse the village, to kill the Muslim men of weapons-bearing age, to burn all of the houses belonging to Muslims, and to expel all of the Muslim inhabitants out of the village”.

He was accused of the destruction of the village mosque, murder of 21 persons, rape of a Muslim woman and unlawful arrest of a number of civilians.

He was sentenced to 20 years in December 2005, after pleading guilty to all eight counts in the indictment.

Three months later, the defence appealed against the sentence, noting that the trial chamber failed to give full consideration to the political and military situation in central Bosnia in 1993 and to take into account the "positive effects" of Bralo’s guilty plea, his expression of remorse and apology to victims.

However, the appeals chamber dismissed all grounds of appeal and said in its April 2 ruling it "arrived at the conclusion that a reduction in the sentence would not be justified".

Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR Hague programme manager.