Paklenik Massacre

Hand-drawn map by Ferid Spahic explaning the Paklenik massacre during the Vasiljevic case.

Hand-drawn map by Ferid Spahic explaining the Paklenik massacre during the Vasiljevic case.

The Paklenik Massacre is the massacre of at least 50 Bosniaks by Bosnian Serb Army in the Rogatica Municipality on 15 June 1992. One day earlier,local Serbs close to the Serb Democratic Party-led Visegrad Municipality organized the deportation of several hundred Bosniak civilians to Olovo(a town in Bosnian Government-controlled territory). However, on its way towards the Rogatica Municipality, Bosnian Serb Army members from Visegrad stopped the buses and took all the men off to another bus. They spent the night in Rogatica and the next day they were taken to Paklenik (Hell) to a ravine called Propast (Downfall) where they were systematically executed and their bodies thrown into the ravine. Only one man survived the massacre – Ferid Spahic. The men responsible for this massacre have not yet answered for their crimes. The only people who have been indicted were Mitar Vasiljevic, Nenad Tanaskovic, Sredoje and Milan Lukic. The Bosniak civilians who were deported and who were massacred came from the following villages in Visegrad: Gornji and Donji Dubovik, Velatovo, Zagre, Smijece, Zupa and Dobrun.

The remains of these executed Bosniaks were found in 2000.

During the Mitar Vasiljevic case, Ferid Spahic testified about the Paklenik massacre. Above is a hand-drawn map by Spahic explaining the murder of about 50 Bosniak men civilians from villages in the Visegrad municipality.

Hand-drawn map showing the position of Bosnian Serb soldiers and Bosniak victims near the Paklenik ravine.

Hand-drawn map showing the position of Bosnian Serb soldiers and Bosniak victims near the Paklenik ravine.

Spahic also drew an important map showing the location of Republika Srpska Army members and Bosniak civilians shoot and dumped in the Paklenik ravine. Spahic names 3 Bosnian Serb soldiers he recognized: Predrag Milisaljevic, Slavisa Vukojcic and Ceho Borisa.

Read more on this here.

Editor’s note: These drawings were used as evidence in the Vasiljevic case. They were obtained on the official ICTY website.

* Read Daniel McGrory’s “Britain forgets Bosnia’s nameless dead “ The Times (London), 28 August 2000:


At this cave in Paklenik, on an April morning in 1992, 53 men faced their execution. Their hands were tied behind their backs with barbed wire. In groups of five they were marched to the mouth of the cave and shot at point-blank range. One man – the only survivor – tried to run and tripped as automatic gunfire ricocheted around him. The Serbs were sure they had shot him. Until now this man has been too scared to lead inspectors to what could turn out to be one of the biggest mass graves in this country.

In ten days of digging, the scientists have already uncovered more than 50 bodies. Small yellow flags mark the position of each skull. Beneath them and in crevices they can see the remains of more victims.  Scrabbling on her hands and knees, Dr Eva Klonowski shows how one man, his elbow shattered by a bullet and his hands still tied, somehow managed to crawl 50 yards to a ledge where he must have bled to death in the darkness. ‘This is a slaughterhouse and whatever your politics or what you think of the Balkans, surely we have a duty in the name of humanity to find out who these people are,’ she says.

The investigators get no help locally. Farmers who live only a few hundred yards away express astonishment at the discovery of the cave.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: