What is the Visegrad Genocide?

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

3 Responses to “What is the Visegrad Genocide?”

  1. Abdul Majid Says:

    Dear Visegrad92, here is something I found today concerning the Rwanda genocide. It was written by Yolande Mukagasana, who survived the Rwanda genocide but lost all her family. Could someone here please have this translated into Bosnian for the benefit of the Bosniak readers? I think Mrs. Bakira Hasecic who often posts here could identify with it. Really, the survivors of the Bosnian and of the Rwandan genocide should get together against the mighty who are too willing just to brush them off.

    “Justice denied!

    By YOLANDE MUKAGASANA
    The genocide against Rwanda’s Tutsi was repeatedly announced beforehand by the Rwandan mighty, since the speech of then President Grégoire Kayibanda 1963.
    The genocide against Rwanda’s Tutsi was proclaimed by President Juvénal Habyarimana the 30th of October 1990. Shortly before the RPF began their guerilla war, President Habyarimana declared in his speech that he would take revenge for his men who fell at the front. Against whom? Against innocents. It began with massacres against Tutsi in Byumba, followed by the massacre of the Bagogwe-Tutsi.
    Remember the thousands of Tutsi, including the students who were arrested at the schools on 5th October 1990. In Nyamirambo the people were arrested, tortured, locked into the stadium, they had to eat grass. Our families ate grass. It’ s hard for me to forget that. For our relatives, the “Prison 1930” of Kigali was the end of the road. How many did return? I would like to ask UNO whether it was there.
    Do you remember the visit of “Human Rights Watch” to the mayor in a northern town, Kajerijeri, when a mass grave was found in his garden? The UNO has forgotten that? I haven’t.
    Who was in Ruanda back then remembers very well how starting in 1993, weapons were brought by bus to different places in the country, among them machetes. We were there. We have seen it and we haven disclosed it. UNO decided to hand over any found weapons to the state forces, te very ones planning the genocide of the Tutsi.
    I understand what UNO aims for. UNO will someday deny genocide. UNO’s deeds prove the denial of our genocide. UNO wants to show that there never was a planned genocide against the Tutsi. No planning means: no genocide. Let me warn you, United Nations. When justice is denied, avengers are born.
    UNO is the causant of the world’s conflichts, because UNO is incapable of judging those who are guilty. If the survivors of teh genocide against the Tutsi began to make justice for and by themselves, all the world would say: These are acts of revenge. For fifteen years we have been waiting for justice, for fifteen years the survivors sre still being killed or die from the causes of genocide, for example raped women or HIV infected persons. UNO begins by caring for the rapists, leaving aside those who were raped.
    How many survivors have been murdered by the relatives or the friends of those arrested, after they had testified at Arusha? How often were we defaed as victims of stat manipulation, to prevent us from appearing before the Tribunal as witnesses? While the Rwandan state has always cooperated with the Tribunal.
    Today one of the intellectual authors of the genocide is set free on a technicality, and God knows he is not the first one. The most important planners of the genocide live in freedom in countries which are signatories of the Geneva Convention. Where does that lead to? And to deceive us, at the same time the responsibles of the FDLR are arrested, only to let them go tomorrow.
    We are tired of it. We are sick and tired of it. But let me assure you, those who are responsible at UNO, we will not give up, eno matter if there is one or a thousand survivors. Surely you are telling yourselves that we are alone and forsaken by the you and by the world, and therefore the solution will be biological. We are growing old, we are ill, we will die and that will be the solution.
    I have lost everything except for myself. My children were massacred and thrown into a mass grave as if they were but refuse, for the genocide was not just called “job” but “cleansing”. My children were “filth” in Rwanda. I have lost my husband and everything which had lit up my life. I am not willing to keep quiet. Kill me but do not torture me. Kill us if you want to see us dead, but stop it already. Put our orphans and our widows in jail in Arusha instead of genocidals, for we are guilty to have lived through a genocide. At least there we would have three meals a day. At least we’d have a roof over our heads. At least we would have medical care, we survivors of genocide. You can’t do that? Then kill us and you will have completed the job. How can it be explained that a Tribunal with a budget of over 100 million dollars each year fails to bring us justice?
    United Nations: Arusha justice for us is no justice. But it is justice for you. This Tribunal was founded to calm your bad conscience. Justice that does not heal. Justice that does not allow us to appear as civil plaintiffs, but only as witnesses. We are represented by a prosecutor whom we haven’t elected while our murderers have several lawyers. A Tribunal that requires us to board a plane and to declare in a foreign country what we have lived through. Especially a justice that has not foreseen any compensation for the victims. What kind of justice is that for us?
    A justice that does not compensate the victims is an injustice. Please excuse my rage. It does not reach that of the genocidals in face of the innocence of their victims, nor to my sadness as a mother in face of the suffering of my children.
    Our ancestors say: Nobody brings to court the one who will bury him. But they also say, to remain optimistic: However long the night may be, some time the day will come.

    Brussels, 18. November 2009″

  2. Thanks, Abdul Majid, Yolande Mukagasana speaks with righteous anger. She needs no excuse for her rage. The same anger calls out for justice for the victims of Visegrad and all the other towns and villages of Bosnia that endured the same genocide.

  3. Abdul Majid Says:

    “When justice is denied, avengers will be born.”
    Justice has been and is continuing to be denied the Bosniaks.
    The ICTY was primarily set up by the UN, teh EU and the USA so as to calm their conscience and to pretend they would do something to redress the wrongs done to Bosnia and the Bosniaks. It was not created to give the Bosniaks justice. Other than that, it has to serve the interests of the West. Else, why would they be so lenient to let Biljana Plavsic go? Why did they bungle the trial of Slobodan Milosevic and obviously are bungling the trial of Karadzic too? Why else would they try to intimidate Florence Hartmann for exposing the double-dealing in the ICJ judgment against Serbia? Mitterrand and John Major back in 1992 said that an independent Muslim community in Europe “was unnatural, was not on, and that a rechristianization of teh Balkans was painful but necessary. Mitterrand was instrumental in the seting up of UNPROFOR which as we all know was not there to “protect” the Bosniaks but as a fig leaf to keep them unarmed and hamstrung – to stab them in the back. And now, there are talks about just letingthe partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina happen and not to pursue “perfect morals”. No, the government policies of the West towards the Bosniaks continue to be hostile. The West rejects the Bosniaks and would want to see them reduced to the state Muslims have in Bulgaria and Greece (not to forget Serbia) today: a marginalized and underprivileged underclass. All the efforts done by the Serbs in 1992-95 and the more or less direct backing by governments in Europe and Russia are all to that end. Muslims everywhere in the world took note, and Radical Islamists instrumentalized it for their own agenda, taking it as a pretext for their own terrorist campaign against the West and to get domination at least of their own (because a Muslim conquest of the West and the establishement of a worldwide islamist caliphate is totally unrealistic, all the harm they can do notwithstanding; it is just a chimaera, a boogeyman, a pretext used by those who hate Muslims to justify any violent or criminal acts against, or any repression and persecution of persons or peoples of Muslim faith or background. And I will no longer call those who hate Muslims Islamophobes, I call them anti-Muslims as in antisemites. To those people I declare my unremitting despisal and hate.) so, if the Bosdniaks are denied justice, are denied the right to live in a unified country, it is easy to understand that someday they may give in to despair and out of despair commit acts of violence. Then their enemies will brand them “terrorists” and have a pretext to eliminate them; the “clash of civilizations” as a self-fulfilling prophecy. And then, following the Serb example of self-victimization and of justifying present misdeeds with old history, they will some time take revenge on the Serbs. And they can justify that revenge with the Serbs’ unwillingness to admit that their entity – or state – or Greater Serbia – was founded on genocide, mass rape and destruction. But there is a continuity. It is not just Milosevic. The SANU memorandum; Dobrica Cosic; Ilija Garasanin; Nikola Pasic; Dragutin “Apis” Dimitrijevic; Njegos’ “Gorski Vijenac”, they all concern themselves with one common subject: the extermination of the Bosnian Muslims. Now, taking that into account , and acknowledging that taking revenge is wrong or that a people or nation should not be held collecrtively guilty, yet I could understand that the Bosniaks will someday take revenge on the Serbs because justice has been denied them. I have exposed all of the above most unemotionally and analytically. But if the “Republika Srpska”, begotten on massive bloodshed and violence, comes to a violent end and those who stand for it meet a painful and violent death at the hands of some Bosniaks, let me assure you that it will not break my heart. Especially considering that the Serbs of then still will think that the Serb deeds and crimes of 1992-95 were right and justified.
    People always have the choice to do right or wrong. Those Bosnian Serbs who chose not to betray their Bosniak neighbors and friends, like Gen. Jovan Divjak, like the Bosnian Serbs of Baljvina, like the Bosnian Serbs who fought in the Bosnian Armija, did the right thing. They chose good over evil. All those who in any way took part in Karadzic’s genocidal crusade or who stood aside and closed their eyes and ears and pretend nothing wrong ever happened, like today’s Serb inhabitants of Visegrad, Foca or Srebrenica, chose evil over good. They have condemned themselves to Hell in the hereafter and they should not enjoy peace in this world either. And if their descendants share their ideas they have condemned themselves too. They are the damned.

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