Archive for February, 2009

The man who burned children

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 27, 2009 by visegrad92

Serb War Criminal Mitar Vasiljevic. Commited Crimes Against Bosniak Muslims in Visegrad.

But it was in the south-eastern city of Visegrad one year earlier, say prosecutors, that a different ethnic campaign was maybe even more successful. In Courtroom Two, Bosnian Serb Mitar Vasiljevic is being tried for extermination and murdering Muslims while he was a member of the White Eagles paramilitary group. Before the war, over half of Visegrad’s residents were Muslim. After it, there wasn’t a single one left, and prosecutors say that following Srebrenica, Visegrad has the highest number of people who “simply disappeared.” “Mitar Vasiljevic is not the most infamous among the Tribunal’s indictees,” Prosecutor Dermot Groome told the three judges hearing the case. “But he is one who by his own hands committed an act which is perhaps one of the single most horrific and egregious affronts to humanity in the war, to the most innocent of victims.”

Those victims were some 70 Muslims — mostly women and children — who prosecutors say were trying to leave Visegrad. Posing as a Red Cross worker, Vasiljevic is alleged to have led them to a house on Visegrad’s Pioneer Street, where he said they’d be safe. Instead, he and two other men charged with him are said to have burned them alive, shooting at people as they tried to escape through windows. “There was a small baby among them,” said Groome. “She had yet to see her third day on this earth. Anguished cries from the dying echoed … for two hours after the match was first struck.” Five people managed to survive. They will come to The Hague to testify against Vasiljevic, who says he wasn’t there when the fire was set.

There will also be other survivors: two Muslim men who survived a mass execution along the Drina River. One of them, a protected witness, Witness 32, testified Tuesday. The 36-year-old dental technician told how he was one of seven men forced to line up on the banks of the Drina River. Vasiljevic was there with a Kalashnikov automatic weapon. Witness 32 remembers hearing a voice asking whether they were going to “shoot individually or in bursts of gunfire.” The answer, said Witness 32, was individually. He recalled, with his voice choking, the interminable walk down to the river. “These last ten meters of my life I just wanted to spend them with my two-year old daughter. While I was crossing these 10 meters, I didn’t see a thing … I just saw the image of my daughter running into my arms.” He, along with one other, survived by jumping into the river and pretending to be dead. Vasiljevic is charged, in part, with murder as a crime against humanity for being one of the executioners in that massacre.

Congressman John Olver: Genocide in Srebrenica, Bihac, Zepa, Gorazde and Visegrad

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 27, 2009 by visegrad92

REMEMBERING BOSNIAN GENOCIDE VICTIMS

HON. JOHN W. OLVER of Massachusetts
in the House of Representatives
Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mr. OLVER: Madam Speaker, as we commemorate the 13th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, perpetrated by nationalist Serb forces predominantly against Bosniaks, Bosnian Muslims, it is time to pay tribute to the tragic episodes not only in Srebrenica, but also in other less-known places in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the spring of 1992, a deliberate, centrally planned, and well-organized campaign of ethnic cleansing, mass murder, rape, torture, and intimidation terrorized the civilian population throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and took the lives of 200,000 men, women, and children. Out of those, 8,000 perished in Srebrenica alone during a period of less than five days in July of 1995. In the end, 2 million Bosnians were
displaced from their homes, and the country’s rich cultural and religious heritage and monuments were deliberately destroyed. Shattered state institutions remain dysfunctional from the chaos and are struggling to cope with the significant loss of Bosnia’s population.

Today, survivors are battling post-traumatic stress disorder, orphans are still searching for their parents’ remains, and new mass graves continue to be discovered. The entire western Balkans region has still not fully recovered from the violent break-up of Yugoslavia.

The human tragedy that befell Bosnia and its citizens in places less known such as Bihac, Zepa, Gorazde, and Visegrad needs to be revisited and marked in its proper place in the memory of human experience and history. If the international community had possessed the will to protect the UN-designated “safe haven” of Srebrenica, it would have prevented the tragic outcome and thousands of innocent lives would have been with us here today. The world had said “never again” to
genocide, only to abandon the people of Bosnia to an unspeakable nightmare.

Today, let us remind ourselves of the consequences: Srebrenica was the worst single atrocity in Europe after World War II. We cannot pretend that Bosnia’s struggles are simply in the past, nor that the country has fully stabilized. The people of Bosnia are still trying to rebuild their country, to reform the institutions that were responsible for the genocide, and to move beyond ethno-territorial divisions into a functional democratic state.

As we mark July 11th, we must always remember the innocent people who lost their lives while the international community failed to act. We must acknowledge that justice will prevail only when General Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic are apprehended, and we must never forget the horrors that befell the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Congressman John Olver: Remembering the Victims of Genocide in Bosnia

Posted in Uncategorized on February 27, 2009 by visegrad92

On Thursday February 7 2008, Congressman John Olver of Massachusetts made a floor statement in remembrance of the victims of genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and eastern Bosnia and the town of Visegrad in particular. The Congressional Record text is below.

[Congressional Record: February 7, 2008 (Extensions)]
[Page E138]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr07fe08-37]


REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS OF GENOCIDE IN BOSNIA

HON. JOHN W. OLVER
of Massachusetts in the house of representatives
Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mr. OLVER. Madam Speaker, I rise today in remembrance of the victims of genocide in Bosnia. I would particularly like to draw the attention of this body to the atrocities perpetrated by Serb forces against the Bosniak and Croat populations in eastern Bosnia. Eastern Bosnia became the site of a number of atrocities long before the name Srebrenica became known worldwide. The aggression perpetrated against the newly independent and sovereign Bosnia and the genocide of its Bosniak population took one of its earliest and most vicious forms with the attacks of Serb forces on eastern Bosnia in 1992. The multi-ethnic and multi-religious character of eastern Bosnia was systematically destroyed beginning in April 1992.

The historic town of Visegrad epitomizes what happened in eastern Bosnia in 1992. The assault on Visegrad started on April 6, 1992 when Serb military units began shelling Visegrad and several of the nearby Bosnian Muslim villages. With the takeover of Visegrad, Serb forces unleashed a campaign of terror against the Bosniak and Croat population of Visegrad. Every day men, women and children were killed on a famous bridge on the Drina and their bodies were dumped into the river. Many ofthe Bosniak men and women were arrested and detained at various locations in the town. Serb soldiers raped women and inflicted terror on civilians. Looting and destruction of Bosniak and Croat property occurred daily and mosques in Visegrad were destroyed.
As the journalist Ed Vulliamy described in The Guardian: “For centuries, although wars had crisscrossed the Drina, Visegrad has remained a town two-thirds Bosnian Muslim and one-third Bosnian Serb. The communities entwined, few caring who was what. But in the spring of 1992, a hurricane of violence was unleashed by Bosnian Serbs against their Muslim neighbors in Visegrad, with similar attacks along the Drina valley and other parts of Bosnia. Visegrad is one of hundreds of forgotten names . . . As elsewhere, the pogrom was carried out on orders from the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karaszic and his military counterpart General Ratko Mladic, both still wanted for genocide.” By the end of 1992, the Bosniak and Croat communities in Visegrad were effectively “cleansed” through killings and deportations. Some survivors of the initial attacks on eastern Bosnia found their way into the three Bosnian government-held enclaves and United Nations-declared “safe havens” of Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde. The tragic fate of these “safe havens” is well known. The fate of Visegrad and the pattern of genocidal violence was similar in other eastern Bosnian towns such as Bijeljina, Zvornik and Foca.
As we prepare to mark another anniversary of the beginning of genocidal violence in eastern Bosnia and as we prepare to commemorate the 13th anniversary of Srebrenica, let us remember the victims of Visegrad and other Visegrads throughout Bosnia.

Rape Warfare in Visegrad:Vilina Vlas

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 23, 2009 by visegrad92

“I want to tell the Westerners the real truth. I want them to stop these crimes. There are plenty of girls in a worse position than me.”

-Mersiha, Muslim Girl, Rape Victim from Visegrad

vilinavlas

Vilina Vlas. Spa hotel near Visegrad used as a "rape motel" by Army of Republic of Srpska and local Serb paramilitaries to rape Bosniak women and girls during the Genocide.


One of the tactics used by the Army of Republic of Srpska and by local Serb Paramilitries in Visegrad was mass rape of Bosniak Muslim women and girls. The mass rape was planned: women were picked and brought to detention centers like the spa hotel Vilina Vlas, were Serb soldiers and paramilitaries would rape them.  The women and girls were told that they are to give birth to “Serbs”.

*Read the Investigation: Visegrad rape victimes say their crie go unherd by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network(BIRN) reporters and watch their TV report aired on Bosnian Television.

Today Vilina Vlas is a spa hotel. Many rapists and murderers still work there. Visit their offical website.

Merjem, a Muslim girl, rape victim from Visegrad gave her witness account when she arrived on free teritory. This was published in Edina Kamenica’s article in Oslobodjenje on 23  March 2000.

“Besides Lukic, other men participated in the collection and taking away of girls. Among them were Dusko Andric, a former policeman and now one of the chief terrorists, Risto Perisic, a former high school teacher in the high school ‘Hamid Becirevic’ and now the Serb police chief in Visegrad. Regarding Momir Savic, Dragan Savic, Petar Savic, Mirko Savic, Leko Tesevic, Milomir Tesevic, I can tell you that they are bums who haven’t done anything worthwhile in their whole life and who saw in the war a chance to kill, maltreate and take away civilians”.

Peter Mass, author of  “Love thy Neighbour“, wrote an article in Washingtion Post ”  on 27 December 1992 entitled “The rapes in Bosnia: A Muslim Schoolgirl’s Account”  were he interviews Mersiha, a young Muslim girl rape victim from Visegrad who was raped in Vilina Vlas by Milan Lukic.

” The girls were taken to the Vilina Vlas motel, which has been described by the Slavic Muslim-led Bosnian government as one of the Serbs’ alleged “rape motels.” Mersiha was locked in one room and her friend was locked in another. Mersiha’s younger sister, Emina, was put in a room across the hall. A few hours later, Mersiha heard her sister moaning and sobbing. She never saw her again.

The warlord, Milan Lukic, who has been well-known locally for years, came into Mersiha’s room, put a table in front of the door and told her to undress.

“He said that if I didn’t do what he wanted, I would never go home,” Mersiha recalled, speaking in a nervous but steady voice. “Then he ordered me to take off my clothes. I didn’t want to do that. He said I must, that it would be better to take my clothes off myself, or else he would do it and he would be violent.”

Mersiha paused in her narration. She tightened her hold on the hand of her older sister, who is a student in Zenica and sat next to her throughout the interview, which was conducted in this government-held city in an empty pizzeria decorated with a few paltry Christmas ornaments. Mersiha stared hard at a spot on the tablecloth and resumed speaking.

“I started to cry. He said I was lucky to be with him. He said I could have been thrown into the river with rocks tied around my ankles. But I didn’t want to do it. He got angry and cursed and said, ‘I’m going to bring in 10 soldiers.’ ”

And so Mersiha, who said she had never had a boyfriend, tried to stop crying as she was raped. “

*Watch Greek Documentary “Vilina Vlas” by Mega TV:



List of Visegrad Genocide victims

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 20, 2009 by visegrad92

Here are 580 names  of Genocide victims in Visegrad(partial list).The total number is between 1,700-3,000.

REMEMBER! – NEVER FORGET!

 Women Genocide Survivors from Visegrad  protest in Sarajevo. Thousands of Bosniaks were expelled, several thousand murdered and raped by the Serb Army. Picture: REUTERS/Danilo Krstanovic  (BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA)

Women Genocide Survivors from Visegrad protest in Sarajevo. Thousands of Bosniaks were expelled, several thousand murdered and raped by the Serb Army. Picture: REUTERS/Danilo Krstanovic (BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA)

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If you have more information or a new entry about a victims please do contact us/ Ako imate vise informacija ili novo ime zrtve da dodate, molimo Vas da nas kontaktirate.

____________________________________________________________

Additional entries by VGM :

* Rešad Kos, 1931, Rodić Brdo

*Fejzic Eniz, ?,  Babin Potok Visegrad

*Gacka Meho, ?,  Dobrun, Visegrad

*Isic Sadik, 15.o2., T.Uzice, Visegrad

*Kasapovic Adem, ? ,Dobrun-Visegrad

*Kustura Huso (otac Smaje Kusture koji je upisan), ?, Dubovik, Visegrad

*Sutrovic Mujo(stari covjek sa Lipe-sin muamer mu je upisan)Visegrad

*Sutrovic (?) Zena Muje Sutrovica a majka Muamera Sutrovica-Visegrad

*Maluhic Rasim(radio u Zavodu za zastitu zenske djece i omladine u Visegradu) Visegrad

*Tankovic Sejfo(nastavnik tehnickog obrazovanja u OS “Hasan Veletovac) Visegrad,Visegrad

*Tankovic Teufik-Tufo Visegrad(Sejfin brat)

*  Zlata Mujezinovic  born 05.07.1936; murdered in Visegrad 29.10.1992

* Hanije Hane Mujezinovic   born 08 01 1945; murdered in Visegrad 29.10.1992

Total number:580

Prezime Ime Datum Rodjenja Mjesto Rodjenja

Downfall, Colder Than Death

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 20, 2009 by visegrad92

An article about a mass grave near Visegrad, where Visegrad Genocide victims were murdered and thrown into, published in Bosnian weekly magazine Dani, August 25, 2000. Taken from here.

Former Bosniak residents of Visegrad, throw roses into the river Drine to comemorate the Genocide in Visegrad.Picture from 2002.Published in Dani magazine.

Former Bosniak residents of Visegrad, throw roses into the river Drine to comemorate the Genocide in Visegrad.Picture from 2002.Published in Dani magazine.

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Another mass grave hid the truth for eight years. On August 17, the dossier Paklenik was opened. The exhumation continues, and it is estimated that the ravine Propast [downfall] contains at least sixty bodies of the genocide victims. Dani visited the scene of the crime that had been hidden for years

by Irham Ceco

Dani, Sarajevo, Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina, B-H, August 25, 2000

June 15 1992: He walks through the forest slowly. In the column, another fifty people. Around the column, executioners. It is a nice day, the forest is fragrant, but the steps are heavy – the last steps. Thick wire cuts in to the flesh above wrists, but he is growing numb to pain, while trying to understand what is going on with them. The day before, they collected them at the main town square in Visegrad and invited them to join a convoy. Muslims are supposed to leave the town. Not long before that they said that the Yugoslav People’s Army was guaranteeing security and introducing order. They were supposed to stay in their homes, return to their jobs and continue peaceful life, as if nothing extremely important was happening. Nevertheless, yesterday they piled them up in eight buses and seven trucks. Men, women, children. “Turks, you’re going to your own kind!”, “Fuck you Balijas [derogatory term for Muslims-Bosniaks]!”, the hatred was spouting from the mouths of acquaintances, neighbors, friends… Silently, like others, he got on a bus. When Zeljko Tasic from Olovo took the women and children out to send them over the separation line, he stayed in the bus. He did not utter a sound while they were beating him up that night in Rogatica. He turned over his documents silently, money, everything they asked from him, just like from the others. Papers were pushed into bags and everyone realized that something was wrong. When before noon they were led into the forest it was already clear that everything was wrong. A handful of men with guns, but they are tied and resigned to their fate. They arrive to the spot named, according to the guards, Paklenik. He does not understand why, until they lead them to the edge of the ravine, an abyss framed by shrubs. The first shot, a piercing pain. He tries to scream while falling, but the voice is gone. While falling to the bottom, he does not feel blows against cold stones, he does not feel the heavy crash of his own fall, only cold. For the last time he hears another shot and then he does not hear anything. Nothing.

August 22, 2000: The name of the ravine is Propast [downfall]. In spite of an eerie name, Paklenik [hell] is an absolutely ordinary grove, which has been hiding horrors for eight years. The number and the names of the victims are still not known. N.N., a witness for the Hague Tribunal has survived the June 15 execution. On that day, Bosniaks from the Visegrad region, villages of Gornji and Donji Dubovik, Velatovo, Zagre, Smijece, Zupa and Dobrun were executed together with him. There were other crimes in Paklenik. The murderers tried to hide the evidence by throwing in soil, stones, dead animals, and animal bones. However, the horror of the truth is beginning to resurface under the detritus. The Commission for War Crimes is preparing for another workday. A tall, middle-aged man with dark Ray Ban sunglasses that he puts on and takes off without an obvious reason, greets Amir Masovic. He warns him that the equipment holding stones taken off the corpses in the ravine is weak and that it should be strengthened. He makes a list of the present individuals and the Dani team. He introduces himself: “Milos Renovica, crime inspector, the Serb Sarajevo Police Station.” Colleagues from the BBC want to know what the list is for. “We keep track of visitors, to make sure there is no abuse.” The Republic of Srpska (RS) Police is providing security at the crime scene, as well as the members of the Italian SFOR, who are watching the ravine and securing the unpaved approach road.

Eva

Members of the Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs Special Police are placing ropes and securing handholds on the scaffolding and the team is getting ready to climb down the ladder. Anthropologists and workers who will dig put on white, paper, single-use coveralls and one by one descend into the abyss down the ladder leaning against a plank scaffolding. “This ladder is our best investment after Eva!,” Masovic says, half in jest. Elvira Eva Klonowski, a Polish woman currently living in Iceland is really, next to Masovic, one of the “engines” of the whole team. White-haired and lively physician Eva really manages everything and does everything. She is a court forensic anthropologist and has been working on Bosnian mass graves since 1996. “You know, in Poland or Iceland, there are a couple cases here and there. This is only also done in Rwanda. I started to work for the Tribunal in 1996.” She now works for the State Commission, more or less as a volunteer. “I am doing this from my heart, for Muslims. Actually, from my heart for the victims. Everyone knows who makes up 92 percent of victims in Bosnia. These victims are victims of the aggression, actually victims of genocide. The other eight percent are victims of war. Why should I work for only eight percent of victims.”

Sarajevan Nermina Sacic also descends in the ravine. She is an assistant at the Faculty of Political Sciences. “My mother is from Visegrad and 14 of my missing relatives are most likely down there.” She will try to recognize her uncle Muharem Zukic by a track suit he put on under his trousers to protect himself from blows if beaten. “If I find the uncle, it will be perhaps easier. It’s not much easier, but it is after all somewhat different if you can go to a grave of your loved ones, if nothing else,” says Nermina after coming back from the ravine, and continues: “I did not imagine that it would be like this. I don’t know if anyone can actually imagine this at all, but there are a lot of animal bones down there. It is slippery, there are corpses everywhere. Those wires, they were killed in a bestial manner. Hopefully the criminals will face some sort of justice, their names are known, thank God, and there are survivors.”

Photographs of two bodies found in remains of a track-suit will be examined by the relatives. That could be the first identification. The clothing of other discovered victims will be washed for easier identification, once the exhumation is over. Besides soil, a lot of stones have been thrown in the ravine, so that the clothing decomposed slowly. Next to a corpse the team found remnants of money, German Marks. The paper has decomposed, but the plastic threads are still there.

Abyss

The reporter team of Dani (Ivan Lovrenovic, Nerzuk Curak, Almin Zrno and the author of this article) descends in the ravine. Through an opening overgrown with hazelnut shrubs, weeds and nettles, deeper and deeper. As we descend, it gets colder. There are more nettles, moss, and then bare and wet walls of a karst ravine. In white suits, all of us have a somewhat eerie appearance.

At the bottom of the ladder, at first step we see a corpse. A green sweater, a handful of bones. On the right, a plank wall and a pile of already removed stones and soil. A chain of workers is removing a bucket by bucket of dug up stones and soil, layer by layer revealing the truth. The truth is horror. On the left side, which had been somewhat cleared, a small yellow flag with number seven has been stuck into the ground next to every corpse. Deeper to the left, the ravine has another part curving upward. At the top, separated from others, a barefoot human corpse. Next to him a skeleton of a fox and a pair of mismatched shoes. “He probably remained alive for a while after the shooting and tried to get out. He perhaps pulled the shoes after him. The fox probably smelled something and fell in the ravine,” clarifies Masovic. The wrists of the victim are tied by rough, construction wire. It is possible to recognize a bluish-white checkered summer shirt.

There is a mound in the middle. The court pathologists are doing the more sensitive part of the job, clearing bones and clothing with their instruments. “Do not ask much, the investigation is going on,” a swarthy pathologist responds with a wry smile to a “technical” question from the journalists. He is busy carefully removing soil. “Here is another skull, give us a bag!” There aren’t any bags of the appropriate size at the moment. But there are skulls and many of them are separated from the bodies and frequently roll away towards the bottom. However, it is important to find the vertebra next to the skull for easier completion of a mosaic.

Esref

The ravine is icily cold. Light bulbs, flashlights and reflectors light the killing field. It is not easy to remain composed and do one’s job in so much horror and death. Black humor is obviously one of the main defense mechanisms. Workers exchange dirty jokes together with overflowing buckets, tease each other, sometimes smile, but those smiles are sufficiently icy to reveal that no one has gotten used to this.

One pathologist exclaims: “Here, we have a name!” He carefully cleans an opened wallet. “Is there a personal identification card?” asks a special policeman. “No, a check book, from the Post Bank Belgrade. But the man is hundred percent a Muslim!” The name on the discovered document: Esref Muhic.

Around noon there is a blackout and the ravine is again dark, as it has been during the last eight years of hiding the truth about the crime.

Back to the surface, step by step. While the special policemen are boiling a soup, we talk with Dr. Nermin Sarajlic, a resident at the Sarajevo Institute for Forensic Medicine. Dr. Sarajlic has been doing this work for two years. What is it like? “It depends on many factors. It is necessary to call a job a job, to be professional, and work as well as possible. Sometimes it is physically demanding, but one always has to suppress some personal feelings.” Is that feasible? “No, it is not,” replies the physician, and after a short pause continues quietly: “Journalists can write all sorts of things, but there are no words for those feelings. Perhaps someone who would spend more time with us would understand. But we have to continue, for the sake of the families of those people, for the sake of the truth and facts. It is important that all of us do our part of the job as well as we can, just like these guys, special policemen, who prepare everything for us. Just like Eva, you saw how she works.”

The special policemen use the break to fantasize about excursions to the Prenj mountain, unused vacations, and prepare for the rest of the workday. All of them are returning to the ravine, and the Dani team back to Sarajevo. Through Sokolac forests that hid the crime for eight years and probably still hide those who ordered this crime, Mladic and Karadzic. Somewhere around here, probably live the witnesses. Quieter than the victims.


Criminals have names

The survivors from the convoy that on June 14 left Visegrad did not see the death of their loved ones. But they remembered many of those who escorted the convoy and took away males older than 16 in “unknown direction”. It is known for sure that Zeljko Tasic fired at Paklenik. As well as Dragan Lukic, a teacher from Sokolac. The list of the “armed escort” of the convoy was given to us by witnesses Mula, Dervisa and Rahima Omerovic, Rahima, Zineta and Nazija Zukic and Juso Karaman and Zaim Spahic. All of them were in the convoy on the day the part of the convoy ended up in the killing field.

  • Ljubomir Ljupko Tasic
  • Mirko Tasic
  • Pero Markovic
  • Ljubomir Gladanac
  • Boris Ceho
  • Milutin Ceho, Police Chief
  • Risto Perisic
  • Goran Pecikoza
  • Dusan Maric
  • Ljupko Maric
  • Predrag and Nenad Mirosavljevic (twins)
  • Milojko Kovacevic
  • Zoran Stanojcic
  • Milan Stanojcic
  • Vidoje Stanojcic
  • Milutin Savic
  • Sladjan Simic
  • Dusan Simic
  • Djordje Gacic
  • Pero Gacic
  • Zoran Gacic
  • Tomislav Sijakovic
  • Jovan Jelcic
  • Miljko Jevtic
  • Nebojsa Pejic
  • Ljupko Arsic
  • Branimir Ivanovic
  • Momir Savic
  • Nenad Tanaskovic
  • Milenko Baranac
  • Slavenko Andric
  • Nedjo Vukasinovic