Genocide in Ahmici
Genocide in Ahmići, 16 April 1993, was planned and executed systematically and in organized manner. It is the worst crimes committed against Bosniacs during the aggression against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the case of Ahmići, ICTY established that the Republic of Croatia committed an act of aggression against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which credited this armed conflict the character of international armed conflict “due to the direct involvement of the Croatia Army and the general control of Croatia over the forces and authorities of the Bosnian Croats”. Eight persons have been held responsible for the genocide in Ahmići, of which only two for their direct participation in the crimes, and six on the grounds of command responsibility.
The Ahmici genocide was the culmination of the Lašva Valley ethnic cleansing. It is the single largest massacre committed by the Croats against Bosniaks in the Bosnian war. The attack began at 05:30 hours on April 16, 1993. The Croat Defence Council (HVO) shelled the Bosniak part of Ahmići and moved in killing many Bosniaks, including women, children and the elderly. They destroyed a large number of Bosniak homes, and caused extensive damage to the village’s two mosques. An estimate puts the death toll to at least 120. The youngest was a three-month-old baby, who was machine-gunned to death in his crib, and the oldest was an 81-year-old woman.
After the Ahmici genocide, Croat leaders, supported by propaganda efforts, tried to deny the massacre or to blame other sides in the Bosnian War. Dario Kordic denied to Payam Akhavan, an investigator with the United Nations Centre for Human Rights, that the HVO were involved in the Ahmici massacre; indeed, he said that his men, as good Christians, would never commit such acts and blamed the Serbs or the Bosniaks themselves: according to him, no investigation was necessary. A similar response was given by general Tihomir Blaskic to British Colonel Stewart in Kordic’s presence.