martyrdom in Bosnia and in the Hague
Ljubica Kupreskic describes dramatic night in which SFOR arrested her husband Vlatko using armed force
They tied me up and they wounded and took away my husband
NATO Secretary General Javier Solana telephoned the President of the Republic of Croatia Franjo Tudjman and asked him to use all his authority to prevent retaliation against SFOR soldiers.
(Vitez, central Bosnia, 1997) Yesterday around 1.30 am in Ahmici, place near town Vitez, the Dutch SFOR soldiers arrested Vlatko Kupreskic, 39, who was indicted for war crimes by the Hague Tribunal. In this moment as we are sending this report the house of family Kupreskic is still surrounded. There are SFOR soldiers all around. The helicopters also overfly the area repeatedly. After several attempts we managed to contact Vlatko¢ s wife Ljubica over the phone. Although very much shocked she agreed to tell her story to our reporters:
We went to bed at 12.30 am. We just fell into sleep when around 1.30 am they threw the first bomb on the balcony. They started shooting from all directions. There were 50 masked soldiers all around the house with no marks whatsoever. We thought they were thieves. They tied me up and hit me. They wounded my husband in his arm, his leg and his abdomen. There is blood all over the house. They hit him again with gunstocks in the corner of the room after he had been wounded. He begged them not to beat him but they don't understand us. No one of us speaks English. The kids were on the floor above. Our daughter Milena ran but one of the soldiers ordered her to raise her hands up. She understands English. The kids were screaming and they wanted to see what was going on with their dad. They took me to them. They lined us on the bed and then one of them photographed us. We turned our backs on him. He locked us and went away. Now they won't let anybody come near the house because they want to be here first so they could hide the traces of crime. I won't let them and I tell them they can do it only over my kids¢ and my dead bodies. I found out they are transporting my husband wounded to the Hague - says Ljubica tearfully.
Inhabitants of Ahmici are shocked. They do not know what is really going on. They claim that in SFOR¢ s action a guard, who was on guard below Vlatko¢ s house in his private company, has been disarmed. A certain Mirko Vidovic found him in a warehouse, tied up and with a plaster strip on his mouth. They do not understand why did SFOR act so brutally. Shocked people only guess that Vlatko may have thaught those were thieves so he shot at SFOR soldiers. Well-informed even claim that one of the soldiers had been wounded on this occasion.
The house of family Kupreskic was blocked until 10 o'clock yesterday and only then were Slavica Josipovic, president of the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) in Vitez and Ivo Garic, head of the city hall, let in. Association of Sufferers from the Independece War sent a public invitation to all their members and other inhabitants of Vitez to demonstrate peacefully agains this action of SFOR. Many of them responded so that the main road near the Impregnacija Company was blocked.
Bruxelles – NATO Secretary General Javier Solana telephoned the President of the Republic of Croatia Franjo Tudjman and asked him to use all his authority to prevent retaliation against SFOR soldiers.
NATO is worried over possible disorders although preliminary reports say there were gatherings but the people rebel not so much against the arrest as against the fact that SFOR arrests only Croats.
VLATKO KUPRESKIC – ARRESTED December 18th, 1997
RELEASED from the Hague prison October 10th, 2001
Vlatko Kupreskic spent innocent more than 4 years in prison in the Hague without any compensation from the Court whatsoever. He also obtained no satisfaction for unjust torment of his wife and kids and his own injuring by SFOR soldiers.
Literature: Zoran Kupreskic, Haaska prica [The Hague Story], Bonus and HKD Napredak, Vitez 2002., ISBN 9958-842-11-4
In the book there is a significant dedication: I dedicate this book to all innocently confined prisoners throughout the world.
Many thanks to Ivica Relkovic for contributing the above text. Translated from Croatian by Antonija Pavic.