Pasko Ljubicic Transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina
Paško Ljubièić was transferred today from the custody of the Tribunal to Sarajevo to be tried before the war crimes section of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Ljubièić is charged with crimes committed against Bosnian Muslim civilians in the Lašva Valley in central Bosnia and Herzegovina between January and July 1993. It is alleged that as commander of the 4th Military Police Battalion of the Croatian Defence Council, the accused, together with troops under his control, conducted a number of attacks on the town of Vitez and neighbouring villages in the spring of 1993 and that during these attacks, they killed more than 100 Bosnian Muslim civilians, detained and abused many more and destroyed Muslim property, including two mosques in the village of Ahmići.
The Tribunal's Judges ruled on 12 April 2006 that the case against Ljubièić was not one that necessarily had to be tried before the Tribunal, and it could be referred to the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who were adequately prepared to accept the case. Following an appeal from the accused, the ICTY Appeals Chamber affirmed the referral decision on 4 July 2006.
To date, the ICTY has referred five cases involving nine accused to Bosnia and Herzegovina and one case involving two accused to Croatia for trial before national courts in these countries. In addition, the Tribunal's Prosecution is providing national prosecutors cases which were investigated but indictments were not issued by the ICTY.
The transfer of cases forms part of the Tribunal's Completion Strategy, under which the ICTY concentrates on the prosecution and trial of the most senior leaders while cases involving intermediate and lower-rank accused are referred to national courts. The ICTY cooperates closely with the judiciaries in the region to assist in the effective prosecution of war crimes suspects.