Croatian leader honors Bosnian victims
AHMICI, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Croatia’s president paid tribute yesterday to victims of massacres during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war, in the clearest message of reconciliation yet from a leader of the three nationalities that fought in Europe’s bloodiest conflict since World War II.
President Ivo Josipovic had the Islamic and Catholic religious leaders in Bosnia join him in central Bosnia, where he promised “never again’’ to the survivors in Ahmici, a village where Croat forces killed 116 Muslim Bosniak civilians in 1993.
The same pledge was made in the neighboring village of Krizancevo Selo, where the Bosnian army killed dozens of Catholic Croats the same year.
On Wednesday, Josipovic apologized to Bosnia’s Parliament for his country’s role in the Bosnian war, doing more for reconciliation than any other leader of the three nationalities involved in Bosnia’s war has done.
A few dozen of the Muslim Bosniak women who survived the April 16, 1993, massacre in Ahmici came yesterday to see Josipovic, grand mufti Mustafa Ceric, and Cardinal Vinko Puljic stand together and bow their heads for a moment of silence in front of a wall that contains the 116 names of the victims. “It wasn’t easy for him. It wasn’t easy for me,’’ Vahida Ahmic, 64, said afterward. “We now can go on. Proceed to the future,’’ the Muslim Bosniak said.