Image: Burnt down Bosniak houses in Borovac near Visegrad. All of Visegrad’s Bosniak population was expelled and murdered during the genocide. Photograph credits: ©Elvis Komic
According to the census taken before the genocide in 1991 the municipality had a population of 21,199: 62.8% of Bosniak ethnicity, 32.8% Serb and 4.4% classified as others. Today the population is almost cut in half, all Bosniaks were expelled or murdered from the municipality. A few elderly returnees are seen in surrounding villages.
One part of Visegrad’s pre-war Serbs left for Serbia or other countries in Europe. Some left because they actively took part in the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks, others left because they witnessed horrible crimes and thus do not want to live in that town. For example, Branimir Savovic, the SDS Crisis Committee President now lives in Serbia along with a few other high-ranking Visegrad Serb officials. Mile Lukic, Milan’s father who also took part in the persecution of Bosniaks, along with his wife lives in Obrenovac. A few dozen other direct perpetrators live with their families in Serbia. At least two perpetrators live in France, one mentioned a couple of times in the Zeljko Lelek case.
But this does not mean that war criminals do not live in Visegrad anymore. Miladin Milicevic, member of the Visegrad municipality war presidency and former Mayor of Visegrad, lives and works in Visegrad. The man who ran the Vilina Vlas rape motel lives as a pensioner in Visegrad. A few other direct perpetrators work in the State Border Police, Police station Visegrad, State Police “SIPA” etc.
Some Serbs who did not agree with the Municipality policy left Visegrad when they had the opportunity to. For example, a Serb women, who was a witness in the Vasiljevic case VG 115, left Visegrad in 1994. She was a crucial witness of the murders of Medo Mulahasic and an elderly many Kahriman.
The largest number of Serbs left Visegrad because of the economic situation in Visegrad and Eastern Bosnia. Every year the number of children in classes is smaller and smaller. Anyone who had the opportunity to leave – left. When a pre-war citizen of Visegrad today walks through Visegrad, he or she can recognize only a few people.
Many Serbs were tricked into leaving their pre-war homes in the Federation and moving to parts of Republika Srpska. A large number of Serbs from Sarajevo and Konjic were re-settled in Visegrad. They were promised new homes and jobs by the SDS-government in 1996 after the Dayton Peace Treaty.
Serbs from several villages in the Konjic area were naive enough to re-settle in Visegrad and other towns in Eastern Bosnia. According to Glas Srpske, a fascist newspaper published in Republika Srpska, around 1.500 Serbs from Konjic villages Bijela, Borci, Ostrožac, Čičevo, Glavatičevo, Bradina, Blace, Donje Selo, Kula etc. re-settled in Visegrad in 1996.
It is important to note, that these Serbs from Konjic were not forced to leave their homes but instead did so on a voluntary basis believing the SDS leadership’s promise of a better life and a creation of an all-Serb state.