U.S. Congress remembers Zepa and Avdo Palic

[Congressional Record: July 24, 2009 (Extensions)]

[Page E2004-E2005]

From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[DOCID:cr24jy09-254]

JULY 25, 1995 MASSACRE IN ZEPA, BOSNIA

______

HON. ANDRE CARSON

of indiana

in the house of representatives

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mr. CARSON. Madam Speaker, tomorrow, the international community will

remember a tragic day in the genocide that ravaged Bosnia and

Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. For over three years, the town of

Zepa, Bosnia remained under siege by the Republika Srpska, despite

being named a safe haven for

[[Page E2005]]

Bosnians by the United Nations Security Council.

Over this period, innocent Zepa residents lived under constant

threat, both of the near constant artillery fire and from the rampant

starvation and disease that arose from squalid living conditions.

Thousands lost their lives and countless others were injured during the

three year siege until finally, on July 25, 1995, the town fell to

paramilitary forces and the remaining residents were killed or

forcefully expelled from their homes.

On this heartbreaking anniversary, it is clear that atrocities and

genocide should never be permitted to continue unfettered. In

remembering the innocent victims of Zepa, I believe that the United

States, together with the United Nations and our allies around the

world, must reaffirm its commitment to ceaselessly pursue the

perpetrators of these terrible war crimes. The international community

must come together to not only remember the innocent victims of this

massacre, but to also redouble its pursuit of lasting peace and

security in some of the world’s most volatile regions.

[Congressional Record: July 29, 2009 (Extensions)]

[Page E2060]

From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[DOCID:cr29jy09-17]

THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE FALL OF ZEPA

______

HON. RUSS CARNAHAN

of missouri

in the house of representatives

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mr. CARNAHAN. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize the

anniversary of the fall of Zepa during the war in Bosnia in 1995. Just

a few weeks ago, I attended the Srebrenica genocide remembrance

ceremony in Bosnia and Herzegovina to commemorate the thousands of

innocent lives lost during the war. It is important to remember these

innocent people who lost their lives as Bosnians move forward.

This siege on Srebrenica, however, was not an isolated event. On July

25, 1995, Zepa, another U.N.-declared safe haven, also fell to the same

forces that took Srebrenica just weeks earlier. The thousands of

inhabitants and refugees in Zepa were forced to suffer, and die through

a constant downpour of shellfire.

In addition to the vast numbers who perished due to the barrage of

fire and starvation, an unknown number were taken away never to be seen

again, including the Colonel of the Bosnia and Herzegovina army, Avdo

Palic, who negotiated the evacuation of approximately 5,000 civilians.

Today, a little more than 14 years after the fall of Zepa, I urge us

all to remember not only the fall of Zepa, but also the destruction of

the other towns of Srebrenica, Zepa, Sarajevo, Gorazde, Bihac, Tuzla,

Prijedor, Bjeljina, Visegrad, Foca, and Kozarac, and many others, all

of which experienced significant loss. We must remind ourselves of the

innocent lives that were lost, and honor their memory.

Madam Speaker, while we cannot erase the pain of these losses, let us

support the efforts of the families of the missing to learn the fate of

their loved ones, and let us support the justice that is necessary for

the building of a stable, prosperous, and unified Bosnia and

Herzegovina.

[Congressional Record: July 27, 2009 (Extensions)]

[Page E2020-E2021]

From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[DOCID:cr27jy09-37]

REMEMBERING THE FALL OF ZEPA

______

HON. CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH

of new jersey

in the house of representatives

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, on Saturday July 25 Bosnians

commemorated the fourteenth anniversary of the tragic fall of Zepa. The

town of Zepa was one of the six United Nations-declared safe havens in

Bosnia during the war of aggression from 1992 to 1995. In May 1993, a

United Nations Security Council resolution held out to this town in

eastern Bosnia the promise of protection from the forces of Republika

Srpska. In Zepa the local residents, people from the surrounding area,

and refugees from other cities and towns gathered to be shielded from

Serbian aggression.

But, Madam Speaker, the men, women, and children seeking refuge in

Zepa were not shielded. The forces of Republika Srpska, who had laid

siege to Zepa in the summer of 1992, were not impressed by UN safe

havens, and neither the UN nor anyone else was committed to defending

the safe havens. On July 25, 1995, the forces of Republika Srpska

overpowered Zepa’s defenders and began to occupy the town.

In July Avdo Palic, colonel of the Bosnian government force defending

Zepa, performed a hero’s work in evacuating as many civilians as he

could, despite operating under constant shelling and the threat of

starvation from the forces of Republika Srpska. Palic participated in

negotiations which resulted in the safe evacuation of approximately

5,000 Bosnian civilians. On July 27 Palic traveled to the UN Protection

Force Compound, in order to secure the evacuation of Zepa’s remaining

inhabitants: he has not been seen since and his fate is still unknown.

Madam Speaker, looking back on the tragedy of Zepa, we remember the

loss of countless innocent lives. Our government cannot give back to

the survivors the precious lives of the family members and friends of

the people of Zepa, Srebrenica, Sarajevo, Bihac, Gorazde, and Tuzla,

but it can support their pursuit of justice. Our government must do

everything it can to discover the fate of Avdo

[[Page E2021]]

Palic and the other men and women who went missing in the genocide

committed against the Bosnian people. To be sure, we must continue to

look for Ratko Mladic and other criminals and genocideurs, but we must

not forget their victims and their need for closure.

Never Forget!

Colonel Avdo Palic

7 Responses to “U.S. Congress remembers Zepa and Avdo Palic”

  1. http://www.ohr.int/ohr-dept/presso/pressr/default.asp?content_id=43758
    Office of the High Representative Press Office, 27/7/2009
    “OHR Calls for RS Government to Fulfill its Obligations Regarding Avdo
    Palic”

    People have been calling on RS for justice for Mrs Palic for a long time. What will the OHR actually do when the RS government shows that it still couldn’t care less?

    From http://www.whereisavdopalic.com/

    “RS Government must act on Palic Commission, OHR says, 5 May 2006”

  2. visegrad92 Says:

    I admire Esma Palic, Avdo’s wife, who has been fighting for justice since ’95.As for the OHR, they have obviously lost their credibility.

  3. There’s a report (as far as I know still unsubstantiated) that Avdo Palic’s body may have been identified from remains found near Rogatica a couple of years ago.

  4. Article from BIRN:

    http://www.bim.ba/en/178/10/21499/

    Avdo Palic’s body was exhumed from the Vragolovi mass grave in Rogatica Municipality in November 2001.

    In November 2008 ICMP undertook a full technical review of all DNA samples. Using a new DNA extraction method for processing the Vragolovi 6 samples they generated additional genetic data which enabled them to find the matches.

    However they haven’t explained why they didn’t say anything about the discovery of matching data in 2008.

    At the end of the article there’s a comment from Esma Palic.

    This is odd.

  5. visegrad92 Says:

    This has only began, the murderers of Colonel Palic must be brought to justice. By the way, the RS authorities have used this issue to politicize and blame Bosniaks for “hiding the body” and pointing at RS. However, they made no mention what so ever about kidnapping Colonel Palic from a UN base, torturing, killing and finally hiding his remains until the Federal Missing Persons Committee accidentally found him.

  6. But of course RS are making a meal of it, that’s “what they do”. ICMP need to deal with this situation very quickly and effectively. They surely should have been prepared for RS to exploit it for their own malevolent purposes, as a smokescreen to draw attention away from the real substance of the matter, which is as you say the murder of Col. Palic.

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