Image: Bosnian Muslim village Borovac in Visegrad, torched and destroyed by Bosnian Serb Army 1992. Pictures by Elvis Komic©
Pictures copyright: ©Elvis Komic
We earlier wrote about the Barimo massacre which occured in August 1992 in Visegrad. Barimo is a village in the Visegrad municipality. In August 1992, Bosnian Serb Army attacked Barimo which was inhabited mostly by elderly people, while the rest were hiding in forests or managed to escape to free territory. At least 26 Bosnian Muslim men, women along with a few children were massacred in their homes or executed and buried in a mass grave on the river banks of the Drina.
Image: A monument built by family members commemorating the massacre.
Image: Ćamila Beha, 1941, wife of Bego Beha
Image:Yugoslav Royalist Forces commonly known as Chetniks, slaughtering a civilian in this undated picture.
Bosnian Muslim villages in Visegrad destroyed and cleansed 1941-45: Part I
Gornje and Donje Štitarevo: Around 283 Bosnian Muslims were massacred by local Serbs, members of Yugoslav Royalist Forces(Chetniks) in World War Two. The following families were completely cleansed from the village: Arnauti, Pite, Ferhatovići, Musić,Gaka etc. For crimes committed in this village,thanks to a survivor Nurko Cocalić, three local Serbs were prosecuted by a Court in Sarajevo: Dušan Vasiljević, Milomir Gogić and Zdravko Popović.
Rujište: Local Serbs massacred around 65 Bosnian Muslim neighbours including 22 women and children. The main perpetrators were Petar and Milorad Lukić. Entire Muslim families were cleansed from Rujište: Čavkušić, Liske and Smajlović.
Menzilovići: Local Serbs massacred around 21 Bosnian Muslim neighbours in March 1942. Several Muslim women were raped including a pregnant women Hata Menzilović. The main perpetrators were: Milan Glišić, Rade and Milan Lindo, Blagoje Sapoljnić, Đoko and Ilija Marković, Miroslav Kargan and Zorka Papić.
Stari Brod: Local Serbs and members of Milan Nedić’s Army at the beggining of 1943, gathered surviving Bosnian Muslims civilians, most of whom were women and children, from surrounding villages: Gornje Štitarevo,Vlahovići,Pozderčići, Kapetanovići, Sendići, Prelovo, Omeragići, Presjek, Gostilja etc. These civilians were brought to Stari Brod village where they were barricaded in a house and two stables and burnt alive. A Bosnian Serb Jovan Gogić from the village Blace, admitted that he witnessed this crime.
Omeragići: Around 42 Bosnian Muslims were massacered by their Serb negibours and members of Yugoslav Royalist Forces(Chetniks) in World War Two. One group of Bosnian Muslim men were excecuted in a forest called ”Duboko” and ”Hrtar”. Another group was excecuted in Zvekara cave. Some women and children were burnt alive in live pyres in Stari Brod.
Image: Ćamka Murtić(village Gostilja) and Safa Halilović(village Sase), raped and slaugthered by Bosnian Serbs from Visegrad, 1941. Picture taken by Sejdo Grabovic.
Kurtalići: Around 21 Bosnian Muslims were massacred by Serb neighbours and members of Yugoslav Royalist Forces(Chetniks) in World War Two.The main perpetrator of his crime was Đoko Marković. Both witnesses of this masscare, Nurif and Mehmed kurtalić, were murdered in Kurtalići in 1992 by Bosnian Serbs.
Mušići: Around 60 Bosnian Muslims were massacred by Serb neighbours and members of Yugoslav Royalist Forces(Chetniks) in World War Two.The perpetrators of this crime included: Lazar Đurić, Stjepan Dikić, Ilija Marković, Luka Đurić and a women Zorka Papić. Ćamila Bosno, a Bosnian Muslim, witnessed when Zorka Papić beat to death her Muslim neigbhour Halima, who is Ćamila’s aunt.
Pozderčići: Around 39 Bosnian Muslims were massacred by Serb neighbours and members of Yugoslav Royalist Forces(Chetniks) in World War Two. Their property was looted by neigbouring Serbs. The main perpetrator of this crime was Ratko Mitrašinović who led a group of Chetniks from neighbouring Serb villahe Kragujevac. The remaining Bosnian Muslim civilians – women and children, sho survived this crime were later taken to Stari Brod where all were burnt alive in live pyres.
Kupusovići: Around 61 Bosnian Muslims were massacred by Serb neighbours and members of Yugoslav Royalist Forces(Chetniks) in World War Two. The main perpetraors were : the Mitrašinović brothers and Miloš Miličević. Aleksa Vojinović from Serb village Blace, kidnapped Hasna Kupus whom he raped and then murdered. The mosque in Kupusovići was completely destroyed and its stone was used in the construction of a church in Blace.
Koritnik: Around 47 Bosnian Muslims were massacred by Serb neighbours and members of Yugoslav Royalist Forces(Chetniks) in World War Two. Yugosla historian Vladimir Dedijer in his book ”Crimes against Muslims 1941-1945”, documented the testimony of one survivor Mehmed Kurspahic who witness the horrific torture of Mehmed Spahic.
Image: The Mehmed-pasa Sokolovic Bridge, blown up by German Nazi troops.
Žlijeb: Around 109 Bosnian Muslims were massacred by Serb neighbours and members of Yugoslav Royalist Forces(Chetniks) in World War Two. During the first attack in November 1941, most of the village’s populaion fled to Višegrad, but later returned due to garantees from Serbs and most importantly from the Italian Fascist army command in Višegrad. Almost all men who returned to Žlijeb were massacred. The village was left wih 33 widows,100 orphans and almost 15 families were left without a single member. The perpetrators of this crimes were: the Mitranović brothers from Kragujevac village, Ilija Mitrašinović, Miloš Miličević, Petronije Knežević, Sredoje Knežević-Ivankić, the Radovanović brothers from Odžak village,Radoje Novaković from Odžak village etc.
Klasnik: Around 171 Bosnian Muslims were massacred by Serb neighbours and members of Yugoslav Royalist Forces(Chetniks) in World War Two. During the first attack in November 1941, around 26 men were massacred, most of the village’s populaion fled to Višegrad, but later returned due to garantees from Serbs and most importantly from the Italian Fascist army command in Višegrad. Bosnian Muslims were called to the Chetnik HQ to report and receive a security not for safe passage through their controlled area. Around 29 men went to report and never returned. Since most of the families were left without their menfolk, there was no one to protect them. The Chetniks used this situation for a raping spree. Dozens of Muslim women in Žlijeb village were raped.
Kapetanovići: Around 55 Bosnian Muslims were massacred by Serb neighbours and members of Yugoslav Royalist Forces(Chetniks) in World War Two. In March 1942, Rade, Sredoje Novaković and Vitomir Krstić from Pozderčići and Milija Radovanović from Odžak gathered around 18 Bosnian Muslim men to take them to the Chetnik command in Odžak to receive a security not for safe passage through their controlled area. After a failed escape attempt, the remaining men were taken to Mount Rogopek and excecuted. Thanks to Nusret Kapetanović, a orphan from Kapetanovići, Rade and Sredoje Novaković and Vitomir Krstić were arrested and sentenced to 20 years prison.
Resnik: Around 102 Bosnian Muslims were massacred by Serb neighbours and members of Yugoslav Royalist Forces(Chetniks) in World War Two. According to witness accounts, several Muslim girls and women were raped.
Kamenica: Around 112 Bosnian Muslims were massacred by Serb neighbours and members of Yugoslav Royalist Forces(Chetniks) in World War Two. The main perpetrators of this crime were : the Gudović brothers, the Vujkić brothers and Lazo Stjepanović from Paočića village. In a live pyre in the house of Bećo Bosno, around 26 women and children were burnt alive. Two Bosnian Serb neighbours Petar Lukić and Božo Ivanović raped Muslim women Šehrija Pjevo and Šefku Dudević. Several Serbs were reported to Police authorities after the war but no action against them was taken.
Mala Gostilja: Around 43 Bosnian Muslims were massacred by Serb neighbours and members of Yugoslav Royalist Forces(Chetniks) in World War Two. It should be noted that a Serb women Radina Andrić, wife of Ratko Andrć warned Muslims from this village that the Serbs were planning to massacre Muslim men and thus saved a large number of men.
Image: Brigadier Charles Armstrong with Yugoslav Royalist Army General Draze Mihailovic, responsible for genocide against Bosnian Muslims in Eastern Bosnia, near Visegrad 1943 . Mihailovic overlooked the attack on Visegrad and the slaughter of around 3,000 Bosnian Muslims in and around Visegrad. A number of British and American intelligence officers were present during the occupation of Visegrad and witnessed the massacre of Bosnian Muslim civilians.
Source: Krvava Ćuprija na Drini, Mustafa Sućeska, DES, 2001. Mr. Sućeska is a World War Two Visegrad Genocide survivor.
Image: Zuhdija Tabakovic. Credits: ICTY
Zuhdija Tabakovic, a former policeman from Visegrad, who is charged before the Tribunal with contempt of court, has been transferred to The Hague and has been ordered into custody.
The custody decision notes that on December 18 Tabakovic was transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, at The Hague. Tabakovic will make his first appearance before the Tribunal on December 22 this year.
The indictment against Tabakovic was filed with the Hague Tribunal on October 30 this year. It was confirmed on November 17. Its content has still not been made public.
Available data suggests that Tabakovic is charged with contempt of court in connection with the trial of Milan and Sredoje Lukic.
In July 2009 the Hague Tribunal pronounced a first-instance verdict, sentencing Milan Lukic to life imprisonment and Sredoje Lukic to 30 years in prison for crimes committed in the Visegrad area.
The Defence of Milan and Sredoje Lukic presented first-instance verdict appeals. The case is currently before the Appellate Chamber of the ICTY.
In November this year the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina ordered a number of prohibiting measures against Tabakovic, including, among others, a ban on leaving his place of residence or traveling outside of Sarajevo Canton and an obligation to report regularly to the police station. Under this decision, his personal identification and travel documents were temporarily confiscated. However, on December 15 this year the Court rendered a decision canceling the prohibiting measures.
Euro 1,000 in Exchange for False Testimony
The Hague Tribunal charges Zuhdija Tabakovic with having taken money
in return for false testimony at the trial of Milan and Sredoje Lukic.
The indictment, which was confirmed in November this year, alleges
that Tabakovic agreed to give a false statement against the Lukic
cousins in exchange for one thousand Euros.
In July 2009 the International Criminal Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia, ICTY, pronounced a first-instance verdict, sentencing
Milan Lukic to life imprisonment and Sredoje Lukic to 30 years in
prison for crimes committed against Bosniaks in Visegrad.
The Lukic cousins appealed the verdict. The case is now being
considered by the Appellate Chamber of the ICTY.
In November this year the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina ordered a
number of prohibiting measures against Tabakovic, including, among
others, a ban on traveling outside of Sarajevo Canton and an
obligation to report regularly to the police station. The decision was
subsequently changed and the measures were terminated. On December 18,
2009 Tabakovic was transferred to the Hague Tribunal.
He made his first appearance before the judges on December 22 this
year, when his indictment was read. His Defence attorney Steven Powles
called on the Court to read the indictment at a closed session. The
Court accepted his proposal, so the public was excluded from this
The confirmed indictment alleges that, on October 18, 2008 Tabakovic
met Jelena Rasic, a member of Milan Lukic’s Defence team, in Sarajevo.
Rasic allegedly offered him money for signing “a previously written
statement”. He accepted the offer.
“Zuhdija Tabakovic read the statement. He knew he would give a false
statement by signing the paper. Tabakovic did not witness the events
described in the statement. He does not have any information about
them, but still he agreed to sign the statement,” the indictment
The second count contained in the indictment charges Tabakovic with
having “agreed”, as abetted by Jelena Rasic, “to find two more men,
who will sign the previously prepared statements”.
“In exchange for signing those statements, each man was given Euro
1,000 from a person named Dragan, who works with Jelena Rasic. Zuhdija
Tabakovic was present in the Novi Grad municipality building in
Sarajevo when they signed the statements and took the money,” the
Hague Prosecution’s indictment alleges.
Zuhdija Tabakovic was a policeman in Visegrad before the war.
A person guilty of contempt may be sentenced by the Tribunal to a
maximum of seven years in prison or fined up to 100,000 Euros.
VGM Editor’s note:
SHAME ON YOU ZUHDIJA!
♦What is 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.
Here are several confirmation notes given by Visegrad Municipality authorities to Bosniaks in 1992. This include: confiscating legally own weapons, travel permits and a signed oath of loyalty.
Image: A confirmation note issued to a Bosniak by Sluzba Javne Bezbjednosti – Public Security Station; a official security authority in Bosnian towns. This note signed by war criminal Zeljko Lelek confirms that on 21.04.1992, Zeljko Lelek “temporary” confiscated a legally own weapon(a hunting rifle) from this Bosniak.
Image: A travel permit issued to a Bosniak by the Sluzba Javne Bezbjednosti(SJB) and signed by its Chief Risto Perisic. Permit was issued for business reasons on 22.05.1992. Bosniaks could not enter or leave without Visegrad authorities permission.
Image: A signed oath of loyalty to the “Serb Municipality of Visegrad” whereas the undersigned shall respect all decisions and orders from the “Serb Municipality of Visegrad”; the “War Presidency of the Serb Municipality of Visegrad” and all other organs. The oath of loyalty was given purpose of security of the undersigned and his/her family. This statement was signed by a Bosniak civilian and by Miladin Milicevic, a member of the Visegrad War Presidency. Several dozen Bosniak families were forced or tricked into signing this “oath of loyalty”. In this family specifically, only one person managed to survive.
Read more on Visegrad Genocide:
Image: Mehmed-pasa Sokolovic Bridge built by the Ottomans. Hundreds of Bosniaks(Bosnian Muslims) were murdered and thrown off the bridge into the Drina River by Bosnian Serbs. Picture Copyright © Velija Hasanbegovic
♦Witness X(Zeljko Lelek case, Court of Bosnia&Herzegovina):
“Zeljko Lelek, Mile Joksimovic and Vlatko Pecikoza arrived almost at the same time at the bridge. Lelek was in a taxi driven by Bosko Djuric. They took out two women out of the car, both were in their early 20s, one was carrying a five to six month old baby. Vlatko grabbed the baby from her and said ‘Let the baby have some fresh air’. He took it and threw it up in the air. Lelek was holding a knife and caught the little body on it,” the witness said, adding that Joksimovic then forced the mother to lick the child’s blood “in order to stop the bleeding”.
♦Witness KB(Zeljko Lelek case, Court of Bosnia&Herzegovina):
“I saw them bringing two older people whose hands were tied. One was wearing a French beret on his head. They lined them up by the water and forced them to go into the water. When the water was up to their waist, the men started shooting. People fell down and I was sick from watching it,”
♦Witness Hasan Ajanovic(Vasiljevic, Lukic case):
“Lukic told us to wade out into the water,” he said, interviewed by telephone from a Western European country that he insisted not be identified. “I did not hear the first shot, I suspect because Lukic’s gun had a silencer. But I heard the screams and then the other shots. Meho’s body fell on top of me. I lay with my face in the sand until night. I swam across the river and escaped. The water stank of death.” (Source)
Image: From Joe Sacco’s “Gorazde: A Safe Area”
♦Witness Mesud Cocalic:
“The bodies were often slashed with knife marks and were black and blue,” he said. “The young women were wrapped in blankets that were tied at each end. These female corpses were always naked. We buried several children, including two boys 18 months old. We found one man crucified to the back of a door. Once we picked up a garbage bag filled with 12 human heads.”(Source)
♦Witness Hasena M. :
“watched them put my mother and sister astride the parapet, like on a horse. I heard both women screaming, until they were shot in the stomach. They fell in the water – the men laughing as they watched. The water went red.” (Source)
Image: From Joe Sacco’s “Gorazde: A Safe Area”
♦Witness Hasnija Pjeva:
“If the Drina River could only speak, it could say how many dead were taken away,”(Source)
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.
+ Bloody Trail of Butchery at the Bridge , Roy Gutman