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Friday, 14 January, 2000, 14:29 GMT
Profiles of the accused

Left to right: Santic, M Kupreskic, Papic, Z Kupreskic, Josipivic, V Kupreskic

The six men on trial for the atrocity at Ahmici in April 1993 were accused of helping organise, or participating in, the shelling of inhabitants and house-to-house searches as the Croatia Defence Force (HVO) swept through the Lasva valley intending to expel all Muslims from the area.

Zoran Kupreskic

One of two brothers in the dock, he was a local commander of the Brosnian Croat militia who had grown up in Ahmici. He was found guilty by the War Crimes Tribunal of persecution as a crime against humanity.

Zoran Kupreskic received 10 years prison for persecution
Kupreskic was present as the attack took place and is described as a "core perpetrator". He received a 10-year sentence.

The testimony of villager Sakib Ahmic alleged that the Kurpreskic brothers were involved in the murder of four members of his family, but the tribunal was not satisfied "beyond reasonable doubt" that the brothers were guilty.

Mr Ahmic said the brothers had "grown up into decent people" until fighting broke out in the village.

Mirjan Kupreskic

He had a lesser role in attacks at Ahmici than his brother, but was guilty of persecution as a crime against humanity and sentenced to eight years' imprisonment.

Vlatko Kupreskic

Cousin to Zoran and Mirjan, he was police operations officer in Ahmici and was also a resident of the village.

The court found he was present during the attack and lent assistance to the HVO and military police attackers.

He unloaded weapons in his store and used his own house as staging area for attacking troops.

He received six years' imprisonment for aiding and abetting the persecution, but the tribunal was not satisfied "beyond reasonable doubt" that he took part in the murder of a civilian by soldiers outside his house.

Drago Josipovic

He was found guilty of persecution, murder and inhumane acts as a crime against humanity.

Josipovic was one of group of militiamen which went to the house of Sakib Ahmic's son, Naser, to kill and/or expel its occupants.

The tribunal found he was present at the murder of Naser. He was aware the inhabitants were unarmed, helpless Muslim civilians and he committed the crimes expressly to "drive Muslims from Lasva valley" in central Bosnia.

Sakib Ahmic testified that he was forced to watch the murders of his son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, aged three and four, and then suffered severe burns after the attackers set fire to the family home.

Vladimir Santic

Santic was commander of local military police battalion and led the notorious military police unit know as the "Jokers".

As a unit leader, Santic bore greater responsibility
He faces the longest sentence of 25 years' imprisonment for persecution after being found guilty of passing on orders from his superiors and encouraging his subordinates.

Judge Cassese said Santic's position of commander lent a greater magnitude to his responsibility.

He also participated in the murder of a Muslim inhabitant and the burning of his house.

Dragan Papic

He was charged with persecution as a crime against humanity as a member of the HVO under arms during relevant period, but his precise role was not clear.

The tribunal found that prosecution evidence was "not sufficient beyond reasonable doubt" to prove Papic's participation and he was acquitted and released immediately.

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See also:
14 Jan 00 |  Europe
Flashback: The Ahmici massacre
14 Jan 00 |  Europe
Analysis: Big fish still at large
18 Dec 97 |  World
Two years after Dayton
13 Jan 00 |  Europe
UN slams Bosnian leadership
02 Aug 99 |  Europe
Nato grabs war crimes suspect
04 Jan 00 |  Europe
Croatia votes for change
14 Jan 00 |  Europe
Croat soldiers guilty of war crimes

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