Križančevo selo killings
Križančevo selo killings happened in the hamlet of Križančevo selo in the Lašva valley in central Bosnia, where dozens of Croats were killed during the attack by the Bosnian Army on the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) positions on December 22 and 23, 1993. The attack happened during the time when the region was embroiled in the Croat-Bosniak war, and eight months after the Ahmići massacre in the nearby village of Ahmići. The location Križančevo selo is a hamlet situated near the town of Vitez, near the larger villages of Dubravica and Šantići. It was a Croatian Defence Council (HVO) military base according to a witness.
As of April 2010[update], publicly available details about the exact circumstances of these events are scarce. As there hasn't been any judicial validation yet in either ICTY or the local courts, the full course of the case is still unknown.
The authorities of the self-proclaimed Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia stated that a massacre happened in the aftermath of the military attack, with prisoners of war executed, with some tortured and/or massacred, along with several civilians, and listed names of 52 persons whose bodies they allegedly identified. The incident did not undergo a judicial investigation at the time. The site was inspected by local UNPROFOR forces on January 6, 1994. This was mentioned in one ICTY case, The Prosecutor vs. Kordić and Čerkez, when one witness, British colonel Peter Gage Williams who was part of UNPROFOR forces on the ground at the time, was asked by the Prosecution about "deaths of 60 or 70 Croats at Križančevo selo". He explained that their January 1994 investigation, during which they found 27 bodies and exhumed nine, suggested that there was "no evidence to support the theory of a massacre".
The attack was given official recognition from both relevant sides in the conflict in 2010, when the Croatian president Ivo Josipović, Bosnian Catholic archbishop cardinal Vinko Puljić and the head of the Islamic Community reis Mustafa Cerić made a joint visit at the sites of Ahmići massacre and this case, and paid respect to the victims. Ivo Josipović made an official visit to Bosnia during which he expressed a "deep regret" for Croatia's involvement in efforts to divide Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s, resulting in the Croat-Bosniak war and suffering for many people on both sides.
According to the public-service broadcasting organization of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (RTVFBIH) report about Josipović's visit, thirty four Croatian Defence Council (HVO) soldiers (including a few civilians) were killed during Bosnian Army attack and thirty other soldiers were captured. However, the Rijeka-based daily Novi list and some other Croatian web sites in their reports about Josipović's visit included information about seventy four soldiers and civilians killed in the attack. Neither press sources mentioned their sources.
- Aida Cerkez-Robinson (15 April 2010). "Croatian president honors war victims in Bosnia". Associated Press foreign report. The Guardian. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
- "Transcript of the testimony of one Mirsad Ahmić". Case number IT-95-14/2-T The Prosecutor versus Dario Kordić and Mario Čerkez. UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. February 3, 2000. Retrieved April 15, 2010. "Q. Is Krizancevo Selo in Vitez, and was it a military base for any particular group? A. Well, yes, it's in Vitez, it's situated in Vitez. We were brought to a place which they called a command or something like that."
- "Izvješće predstojnika Ureda predsjednika HR Herceg-Bosne" (in Croatian). Zločin s pečatom by Ivica Mlivončić. January 8, 1994. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
- "Transcript of the testimony of one Peter Gage Williams". Case number IT-95-14/2-T The Prosecutor versus Dario Kordić and Mario Čerkez. UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. January 31, 2000. Retrieved April 17, 2010. "Q. All right. Indeed, sir, that [Muslim offensive in late December, 1993] involved one particular incident involving the deaths of 60 or 70 Croats at Krizancevo Selo. Do you recall that? A. I do recall that."
- "Transcript of the testimony of one Peter Gage Williams". Case number IT-95-14/2-T The Prosecutor versus Dario Kordić and Mario Čerkez. UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. January 31, 2000. Retrieved April 17, 2010. "Q. [...] There's also a reference to 60 or 70 HVO being killed by a surprise attack at Krizancevo Selo near Dubravica. Would it be fair to say, sir, that that event involving so many deaths raised some particularly hard feelings on the part of the Croats battling for their lives against this sustained assault? A. Indeed. There were immediate allegations that this was a massacre, and we followed this up later on, early in the new year, to investigate the situation."
- "Transcript of the testimony of one Peter Gage Williams". Case number IT-95-14/2-T The Prosecutor versus Dario Kordić and Mario Čerkez. UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. January 31, 2000. Retrieved April 17, 2010. "Q. [...] You indicated that there was an investigation as to the allegations of massacre by the Croats -- Croats alleging massacre on the Croats. What conclusion was reached as to massacre? A. The elaborate investigation was taken -- was conducted at the spot where 27 of the bodies of those who had allegedly been killed were buried. We exhumed nine bodies in the presence of the BBC, amongst other people. To the best of our limited knowledge, they all appeared to be of military age and to have died in extreme traumatic ways, that we assessed as being in combat. We then interviewed three men who had been captured, who were in the gaol in Zenica, and we eventually presented a report, not only to the U.N. authorities, but also to the Croat military authorities in the Vitez pocket. Q. Then did your investigation sustain the allegations by the Croats? A. The investigation suggested that there was -- there was no evidence to support the theory of a massacre. The evidence pointed to a tactical success that had led to a considerable loss of life."
- "Predsjednik RH u Ahmićima - Josipović s Puljićem i Cerićem odao počast žrtvama rata u BiH" (in Croatian). Novi list. April 15, 2010. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
- "Josipovic apologizes for Croatia´s role in war in Bosnia". Croatian Times. April 15, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2010.
- Nađa Ridžić (April 15, 2010). [rtsp://18.104.22.168:7070/ftv/federacija100415-1.rm Report from the site of Josipović's visit] (rm). RTVFBIH, branch of the Radiotelevision of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Retrieved April 18, 2010.