Archive for November, 2009

Sentence to Milan and Sredoje Lukić

Posted in Uncategorized on November 26, 2009 by visegrad92

Source: Pescanik

01.08.2009.

On the 20th of July 2009 Court Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) with Patrick Robinson as a Presiding Judge, has sentenced Milan Lukić for a life term of imprisonment and his cousin Sredoje Lukić to a prison sentence of 30 years. Milan and Sredoje Lukić were sentenced for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Bosnian Muslims in the Eastern-Bosnian town of Višegrad during the period from June 7th, 1992 until October 10th, 1994. Milan Lukić was found guilty for: persecution, murder, extermination, inhumane acts and cruel treatment as crimes against humanity and war crimes, while Sredoje Lukić was found guilty for committing and aiding and abetting crimes of: persecution, murder, cruel treatment and inhumane acts.

Milan Lukić has committed the above named crimes in connection with six separate incidents :

1.      Killing of 5 Bosnian Muslim men on the bank of River Drina on or about June 7th, 1992;

2.      Killing of 7 Bosnian Muslims in “Varda” furniture factory on or about June 10th, 1992;

3.      Burning alive 59 people (including women and children) in a barricaded house in Pionirska street in Višegrad on or about the June 14th, 1992;

4.      Burning alive at least 60 people (women and children included) in a barricaded house in the Višegrad settlement of Bikavac on or about June 27th, 1992;

5.      Beating of prisoners in Uzamnica prison-camp during the time period from August 1992 until October 1994;

6.      Murder of Hajra Korić in or about June 1992.

Sredoje Lukić was found guilty for two separate incidents:

1.     Burning alive of 59 people (including women and children) in a barricaded house in Pionirska street in Višegrad on June 14th, 1992;

2.     Beeting of prisoners in Uzamnica prison-camp in the time period from August 1992 until October 1994.

Although Sredoje Lukić was indicted for the fire in the Bikavac settlement as well, Court Chambers decided that Prosecution had not proven ”beyond reasonable doubt” that Sredoje Lukić was present during the burning of people in the Bikavac settlement.

Court Chambers concluded that Milan Lukić has personally killed at least 130 people and Presiding Judge Patrick Robinson who characterized Lukić’s crimes as “callous and vicious disregard for human life” has stated in an oral explanation of Judgment that: “In the all too long, sad and wretched history of man’s inhumanity to man, the Pionirska street and Bikavac fires must rank high. At the close of the twentieth century, a century marked by war and bloodshed on a colossal scale, these horrific events stand out for the viciousness of the incendiary attack, for the obvious premeditation and calculation that defined it, for the sheer callousness and brutality of herding, trapping and locking the victims in the two houses, thereby rendering them helpless in the ensuing inferno, and for the degree of pain and suffering inflicted on the victims as they were burnt alive.”

It should be mentioned as well that the indictment did not include two cases of abduction and killing — once 16 and second time 18 Muslim and one Croat civilian (who were citizens of FRY[1] at that time) — in 1992 and 1993 in the townships of Sjeverin and Štrpci. Because of the crime in Sjeverin, Milan Lukić was already sentenced by the Belgrade District Court to 20 years imprisonment.

Reactions to the judgement

Although reports about the Judgment instantly became breaking news and dominated most prominent media in the country for days, silence from the most senior state officials — most of all from the President Boris Tadić and from Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković and other Ministers — was conspicuous. Especially so in light of the fact that in a majority of previous cases when ICTY has passed judgments: none of these dignitaries missed an opportunity to comment on them[2]. In spite of that, mid-ranking state officials, representatives of the judiciary and other prominent public figures expressed their support for the judgment – either in total, or somewhat reserved. In that sense spokesman of the Serbian War crimes department Bruno Vekarić stated that the ICTY judgment in the Milan and Sredoje Lukić case represents “[ICTY Chief Prosecutor] Serge Bramertz’s legal victory”, and that it meant “justice for victims”, whereas Dragoljub Todorović who acts as legal representative of the families of abducted passengers from the train in Štrpci, has stated that it is not clear to him why [former Chief Prosecutor] Carla Del Ponte did not include the crimes in Sjeverin and Štrpci in the indictment because there was more than enough evidence for that”. The statement of Vice-President of Sandžak Democratic Party Meho Omerović that ”Serbian national television – RTS should publish the information about the real nature of the crime and not only about the sentence” should be also considered. Support to the judgment was also expressed in readers’ comments at numerous websites: many expressed their exasperation at the gravity of crimes committed and their belief that justice for the victims was done with this judgment.

Albanians and Naser Orić and they are sentencing Serbs the harshest way. Not a single Serb has gotten away”[3].

Official of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) Borislav Pelević: ”If ICTY could increase Veselin Šljivančanin’s sentence from 5 to 17 years, and with the same evidence and witnesses acquit Naser Orić, who -according to UNHCR -­is responsible for the death of 3.267 Serbs, than it is clear that this is anti-Serb Tribunal[4]”.

Kurir daily in its issue on of July 22nd, 2009 published a text under the headline ”Injustice” which contains an emotionally intonated confession of Milan Lukić’s sister Draginja Baltić. Stereotypes about ”anti-Serbian tribunal” on the basis of which Milan Lukić was sentenced are prevailing.

The Pravda daily on the same day carried a text headlined ”Serbs were victims in Eastern Bosnia as well”, which characterized the judgment as politically motivated and one-sided, whereas the ICTY is depicted as a Tribunal which is problematic and established ”to prosecute Serbs only”. This standpoints were supported with statements by some opposition leaders such as Aleksandar Čotrić (Serbian Renewal Movement – SPO), Borislav Pelević (SNS), Dubravka Filipovski (New Serbia), Zoran Nikolić (Democratic Party of Serbia) and others.

One should also highlight comments by some of the visitors of web-sites like Politika[5] and Press daily newspapers, and not just because of the fact that many of them reflect direct support to Milan and Sredoje Lukić, and in various ways justify their acts, but because of the fact that both these newspapers are known for their closeness to the Government of Serbia.

Press daily:

Yes the sentence would be small because you are thirsty of Serbian blood; if there is justice, beasts like Haradinaj and Naser Orić would get the same sentence … All of this is a farce which doesn’t serve truth and justice but to cover up the bombing of our state and taking away our territory. If there is any comfort for Lukić that is the fact that Drina is no longer border of between Serb people. (Mitar July 21, 2009, 01:10)

I can’t see any beasts, I see only heroes! Death to the ICTY, freedom for Šešelj!! (anonymous July 21,2009, 01:57)

They frame us as guilty again, justice for Milan!! He is a hero and bastards from The Hague and domestic fools and traitors are presenting him as villain! (Anonymous July 21, 2009, 04:04)

Many thanks to Milan and Sredoje on everything what they gave to the Serbian people, some alleged crimes will never make real Serbs to forget what two of them did for the Serbian people, they were defending Serb children from Croatian and Muslim hordes of evil while some of them who are condemning them today were in America and other countries which were killing our children (Djindjić, Tadić, Dinkić)! Thank you both of you, brothers! You were dying for Serbia and Serbia repays you like this, after all, there is God who sees the treason of our holy country and everything which is orthodox, [he will punish them] the way he punished Djindjić for atrocities against the Serbian people! (Uros July 21, 2009, 04:10)

And I can see only people who were defending their own people, what should they have done – to stand aside and look how Naser Orić is killing, haven’t they? (anonymous July 21, 2009, 11:04)

Politika daily:

Mixer, Jul. 21, 2009, 14:19

And how much did Orić and Islamic terrorists from Kosovo get for murdering a couple of thousand on they own doorstep; all of them were kids, women and civilians. What they get will reflect the face of ICTY and Serbia. How many years for terrorism and war crimes someone in Serbia who belongs to other nationality for much bigger atrocities would get? If that Lukić is guilty and if he did something like that, he deserves punishment, but at present ICTY is not in a state to pass judgments, and Serbia even less. Neither in Serbia nor in The Hague was there someone who was found accountable for war crimes against Serbs. Consequently, another innocent victim of Serbia has fallen in the name of Government of Serbia and its accession to the EU. It is horrible to be a Serb. Yet again time has Serbia shown to Serbs who love their own people and state that there is no place for them. At the same time a message was sent to those who may intend in the future to defend their state and people, what is waiting for them. Both Serbian and The Hague courts.

Aleksandar Karinkton, Jul. 22, 2009, 09:57

Milan Lukić is a hero he saved Višegrad from Muslims and Muslim fanatics who were raging through the streets of the above named town, they even mistreated innocent bystanders of another nationality. The man is completely innocent.

Outlook:

The Milan and Sredoje Lukić verdict clearly demonstrates that unbiased reporting — if and when void of politicking stereotypes — on the nature and magnitude of crimes tried before the ICTY, can provoke emotional and compassionate reactions and unequivocal condemnation of those crimes. However, a large number of politicians, analysts, journalists and intellectuals still persist on ICTY’s anti-Serb conspiracy, and thus divert attention from what really happened and prevent a sincere confrontation with the recent past. Should Serbia’s political elites continue to flirt with crimes committed in the name of Serbdom, public opinion will be anesthetized — and partly radicalized — to the extent that those crimes will become acceptable irrespective of their monstrous character, as numerous reactions to this verdict vividly show. It is in such an atmosphere that further developmen of democrartic institutions and uphold of human rights can hardly be expected.

YUCOM, Human Rights and Democracy Violation, Weekly Newsletter No.42

_______________________________________________________________

[1] Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

[2] The most characteristic case was the ”Vukovar tree” when the ICTY Appeals Chambers had increased the sentence to Collonel Veselin Sljivancanin from 5 to 17 years of imprisonment, whereupon not a single one of the most senior officials missed an oprtunity to condemnd the judgment. The same reaction happend when Naser Oric was acquited.

[3] Glas javnosti daily July 21st, 2009.

[4] Glas javnosti daily July 21st, 2009.

[5] As regards Politika, it should be noted that this newspaper is published by a house partly owned by government, and is under their direct influence.

What is the Visegrad Genocide?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2009 by visegrad92

The Višegrad genocide was an act of ethnic cleansing and mass murder of Bosniak civilians that occurred in the town of Višegrad in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, committed by Bosnian Serb Army and Police forces at the start of the Bosnian War during the spring of 1992. Over a period of four months, Bosniaks were murdered, tortured, raped and publicly humiliated on a daily basis in Visegrad’s streets, in the victim homes and in concentration camps.

Image: Exhumation of Bosniak genocide victims in Straziste cemetary, Visegrad, 2009.

According to ICTY documents, based on  victims reports, some 3,000 Bosniaks were murdered during the violence in Višegrad and its surrounding, including some 600 women and 119 children. It is estimated that over a hundred Bosniak women were raped by Bosnian Serbs which was part of a systematic genocidal rape warfare used by the Bosnian Serb Army and Police throughout occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Višegrad genocide was one of the worst during the Bosnian Genocide 1992-95 because it was mostly committed by local Serbs and  it occurred over a period of several months:

April-May was marked by the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army occupation on 15 April; arrests and murders of Bosniak intellectuals, looting, beatings, by Bosnian Serb Police and Yugoslav Peoples’ Army;

June-July was marked with systematic destruction of mosques and other Islamic architecture, several massacres of Bosniak civilians by Bosnian Serb Army including the Barimo massacre, Bosanska Jagodina massacre, Paklenik massacre and the infamous Bikavac and Pioneer Street live pyres where dozens of Bosniak civilians – elderly, women and children(including a two-day old baby) were burnt alive; besides these outragest crimes, the most brutal were committed on the Ottoman Mehmed-pasa Sokolovic Bridge where for weeks, Bosniak civilians were brought to the bridge, murdered either by knife or gun and thrown into the river Drina;

Augustby this time, most of Visegrad’s Bosniak population was murdered, raped, deported or exchanged. There were still Bosniaks in concentration camps like Uzamnica military camp or Vilina Vlas, the infamous spa motel-turned rape motel were hundreds of Bosniak women were raped numerous times by Bosnian Serb Army and Police. A little known fact is that until 1995, in Višegrad, there were dozens of Bosniaks who were working as forced labour on private and community farms. They were exchanged by wars end in 1995.

→ Until today the following have been convicted for war crimes convicted  in Visegrad:

1 )Novo Rajak;

2 )Nenad Tanaskovic;

3 )Boban Simsic;

4 )Zeljko Lelek;

5 )Momir Savic;

6 )Milan Lukic;

7 )Sredoje Lukic;

8 )Mitar Vasiljevic

Read more :

+ Crisis Committee Visegrad(Krizni štab)

+ Eliticide in Visegrad

+ Destruction of mosques in Visegrad Municipality

+ Visegrad Genocide Denial

Visegrad’s Forgotten Live Pyres

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2009 by visegrad92

In Visegrad there were two well-known live pyres: The Pioneer Street and the Bikavac live pyre. However there were a couple more live pyres which little is known about since there were no survivors. Here is the story of one of them.

In the center of Visegrad, in the JNA Street(popularly known as Jondza), in Esad Brankovic‘s house around a dozen Bosniak civilians were burnt alive.

This included: Vezima Hasecic(1952, the daughter of Demir Osman);  Nermina(Remze)Hasecic(1977); Alma(Remze) Hasecic(1977); Osman Demir; Nefa Demir; Sulejmena(Mustafa)Tvrtkovic; Abida (Omerovic)Tvrtkovic and Selim (Sulejmena)Tvrtkovic(1975). They were last seen in Zulfo Hasecic’s house. The suspected perpetrators of this crime is the infamous Bosnian Serb Army Special Unit popularly known as the “Avengers”, “White Eagles” or “Garavi Sokak” which were led by Milan Lukic.

Image: Selim(Suljemena)Tvrtkovic born 1975.

Image: In the center with dark hair, Nermin(Remze)Hasecic born 1977.

Image: In the middle, Alma(Remze)Hasecic born in 1981.

No one has yet answered for this live pyre. Visegrad Serb authorities have constantly obscured investigations and exhumations. The victim remains have most probably been moved to another location.

During the Visegrad Genocide around 120 children were murdered or burnt alive by Visegrad’s Bosnian Serb Army soldiers or Bosnian Serb Police.

Read more:

+ Kurspahic, The Koritnik Tragedy

+ Bikavac Live Pyre

+ Destruction of Mosques in Visegrad Municipality

+ Bloody Trail of Butchery at the Bridge , Roy Gutman

+ Eliticide in Visegrad

Video:Bosnia’s Broken Promises

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 9, 2009 by visegrad92

Watch Al Jazeera’s People&Power episode on Visegrad war crimes.

Read more:

+ Destruction of Mosques in Visegrad Municipality

+ VIDEO REPORT: Visegrad Genocidal Rape

+ Eliticide in Visegrad

+ Serb Democratic Party Crsis Committee(Krizni Stab)

+ Visegrad Genocide Denial

In Memoriam:Suljo ef. Haljkovic

Posted in Uncategorized on November 8, 2009 by visegrad92

suljo.ef

Suljo ef. Haljkovic died in September this year in Sweden. He was the imam in Gazanfer-beg’s Mosque in Visegrad. Suljo ef. was born in Cajnice but he lived and worked in Visegrad. He was seriously injured in the stomach during the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army(JNA) bombardment of Visegrad in April 1992 and was urgently brought to the Hospital in Foca. He kept on repeating to people around him: “If you survive, talk about this. Tell the others what happened”. His son Amrudin, was arrested by the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army and used as human shield along with other Bosniak civilians during their attack on Ustripraca near Gorazde where Amrudin was killed. His wife Ifeta managed to save  him from the onslaught on Muslims in Foca and escaped to Montenegro, then to Macedonia and finally to Sweden where he lived a quiet life.

For the record: A Month In The Hands of Milan Lukic

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 6, 2009 by visegrad92

BIRN’s Justice Report
5 November 2009

For the record: A Month In The Hands of Milan Lukic

Merima Husejnovic

Emina S was 22 when she fell into the hands of the Bosnian Serb
paramilitary chief who repeatedly raped her until she escaped into the
woods. She told her story to Merima Husejnovic.

“At the very beginning of the war I lived with my family in Visegrad,
in a place called Mahala. This is where my tragic experiences began.

One evening I went to the shop. Some soldiers, dressed in camouflage
suits, were standing in front of the building. I wanted to go back but
didn’t manage to do so. Milan Lukic and his pals stopped me and asked
what I was doing. I was instantly aware of what might happen.

He said I had to come with them. They picked me up and took me to the
spa hotel in Visegrad. When we got there, he took me out of the car
and we walked to the hotel, which was full of soldiers. The name of
the hotel was “Vilina Vlas”. I did not know the place.

As soon as we went in, I could hear the screams. I guessed that many
women had been taken there before me. There was screaming, crying,
everything …  But one couldn’t move. There was nothing one could do
right then. You went in there and you did not know if you would stay
alive …

I couldn’t see anybody else in the Vilina Vlas. I knew there were
other women and they were being raped. The men were doing to them what
they wanted to do. But nobody saw anybody else. We did not know about
each other. All the rooms were closed.

Lukic did not care whether they were old or young — all he cared
about was having a woman and doing what he wanted. He would take women
for himself and then let others have them. He did not care what those
people did to the women.

He took me upstairs to a room and told me to sit on the bed, adding
that nothing would happen. It was hard. I was scared and I panicked. I
simply do not know what to do with myself.

He then ordered me to lie on the bed and take off my clothes. He did
what he wanted. It was my first time with a man. Milan Lukic took away
my virginity.

When it was over, he told me not to try to do anything because I would
not be able to escape. I realized what had happened. I did not know
what to do next.

We stayed in the room until dawn. He kept his gun next to the bed.
When he woke up I begged him to take me home. He stood up, put on his
clothes and took me with him.

We first stopped by a coffee shop. He wanted to see his pals. He took
me by my hand and took off his beret. I had long hair at the time and
he stuck the beret on my head. He said: ‘This is my future wife’,
adding that nobody should touch me.

He took me home but said I must not go anywhere because he would find
me and kill me and my whole family if I disappeared anywhere.

When I got home I felt overwhelmed by fear. I thought he would find me
wherever I went. They were everywhere. I didn’t dare go out because if
you went out, you could disappear. That is how it was.

He used to come every day. He took me with him and brought me back
whenever he wanted. He would come at night and take me away. When he
knocked on the door, my mother used to faint.

He used to take me to the pool. In the pool and by the pool …
whichever place suited him best. You had to keep quiet and pray.

It went on for a month, this exhaustion. Every day it became more and
more difficult. He would take me away and bring me back. For that
month he did whatever he wanted to do with me.

In the end I couldn’t stand it. I decided I had to run away, no matter
whether I lived or died. I couldn’t longer live with it. It was
unbearable.

So I went with my mother to the village of Okrugla, near Visegrad. We
walked through the woods before reaching the village of Dobrun. I
lived in the woods, spending my time fear because he came there
looking for me and asking people about me.

I hid in those woods until I met my present husband who helped me get
my life back. Were it not for him, I wouldn’t be alive today. I felt I
had been rejected by everybody, the whole world. I was still only 22.

That time changed my life completely. Even today my life appears good
for nothing. When I go back to Dobrun, everything reminds me of that
time. When I see the Vilina Vlas it all comes back. This is something
that cannot be erased.

Visegrad is still a nice town but it entails tragedies, a lot of
things …  We lived there without any problems until 1992 when the
war began. Life will never be as it was. Years can pass and many
generations live, but nothing will be as it once was.

I am struggling to go on with my life. I have to hold on for my kids
and my family. But no matter how strong I am, I can’t overcome it. I
ask: Why did this happen to me? Why did I have to be the one?’

My first child had a shattered brain. The doctors say it may have been
due to my fears and to all the things that had stayed in me.

The only consolation for me would be to see Milan Lukic admit his
crimes. He must accept the gravity of his actions and admit his guilt.
The things that happened to me cannot be forgotten. It is different
when someone points a gun at you, but this was different. It was a
wound to the soul.”

The Vilina Vlas hotel is located in the woods, about 5 kilometres from
Visegrad. A rehabilitation centre and thermal spa, the Hague Tribunal
in 1992 described it as the headquarters of Milan Lukic’s paramilitary
group, the “Beli orlovi” (“White Eagles”) or “Osvetnici (“Revengers”).
A 1994 UN report on rapes in Bosnia mentioned the hotel as a detention
centre where girls as young as 14 were routinely raped. Fewer than ten
of those detained in the centre survived.

In July 2009, the Hague Tribunal sentenced Lukic to life imprisonment
for various crimes committed in the Visegrad area from 1992 to 1994 —
but rape was not one of them. The surviving victims have protested
against the court’s failure to take note of the numerous rapes
committed at various locations in Visegrad, including the Vilina Vlas.
(See: Visegrad rape victims say their cries go unheard
<http://www.bim.ba/bh/32/10/1312/>)


/Merima Husejnovic is a BIRN – Justice Report journalist
<merima@birn.eu.com>. Justice Report is an online BIRN weekly
publication./

“For the Record” is a special appendix to Justice Report in which we
record the life stories of people who survived horrific events in the
war in Bosnia.

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network invites you to send us your
own memories of the war, which we will consider for publication. Write
to us at: urednik@birn.eu.com

Koritnik-The Kurspahic Tragedy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2009 by visegrad92

On June 14 1992, in Pioneer Street(Pionirska Ulica) in Visegrad around 60 Bosniak civilians, (women, children and elderly) were barricaded and burnt alive in Adem Omeragic’s house. Almost all were from Koritnik village and a majority of them belonged to the Kurspahic family. Koritnik was looted and set ablaze.

Senad_Kurspahic_pored_ploce_sa_imenima

Image: Senad Kurspahic, standing in front of his house in Koritnik next to a board with names of his family who were burnt alive(including a 2 day-old baby) in Adem Omeragic’s house in Pioneer street in the center of Visegrad.

koritnik

Image: Visegrad genocide survivors and family members gather in Koritnik to mark the crimes committed there.

koritnik1

Image: Family members place boards with names of victims-their loved ones who were murdered by the Bosnian Serb Army.

koritnik3

Image: Genocide survivors and family members leave a sign for the perpetrators: “War criminals, our neighbours first robbed us, expelled us and then burnt us alive. 8 of us survived.”

Read more:

1.Milan&Sredoje Lukic Judgement

2.Huso Kurspahic – Legacy of Truth

3.List of Bosniak Women and Children Burnt Alive in Visegrad