Archive for genocidal rape

The Rapist from Vilina Vlas

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 5, 2011 by visegrad92

The Vilina Vlas Spa motel was a site of mass rape of Bosniak girls and women during the Visegrad Genocide. This was confirmed during the Zeljko Lelek case.

Image: Zeljko Lelek-The Rapist from Vilina Vlas

Zeljko Lelek Second Instance Judgement:

69. That the witness was at the Vilina Vlas Spa and that she was raped there bythe Accused, among others, is supported by what she said about other Muslimwomen being there, subjected to the same tortures. First of all, the witness D,as well as a certain Jasmina, of whom the witness said, “…Jasmina looked miserable, she was in a corner… and he (meaning the Accused ) approached Jasmina“, she heard later that Jasmina jumped off the window. The defence witness Petar Mitrović also confirmed these allegations when he says that hewent to the Spa together with the Accused and that they found out there thattheir Bosniak neighbours were killed, and that Jasmina Ahmetspahić jumpedoff the window. This witness actually connected the Accused with the timeand place of the acts under this Count of the Indictment.

70. On the basis of the testimony of the witness M.H. the Trial Judgement (pp.40-43.) reasoned its conclusion very clearly and precisely that the acts of the Accused constitute the elements of the criminal offence of rape outlawed byArt. 172(1)(g) CC BiH, and that this rape constitutes the act of torture as well. This is because the witness was brought to the Vilina Vlas Spa to besadistically abused by the perpetrators only because she belongs to a particularethnic group and for illicit discriminatory purposes. Before this instance ofrape she was sexually abused on multiple occasions and the Accused raped herwhile she was in such physical and mental pain, despite her obvious suffering,and this was all done to severely humiliate her and degrade her dignity.

Today Vilina Vlas is still a motel visited by local and foreign tourists. It is estimated that more than a hundred Bosniak girls and women were in Vilina Vlas. Only a few managed to survive.

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

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

/Merima Husejnovic is a BIRN – Justice Report journalist
<>. Justice Report is an online BIRN weekly

“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:

The abysses behind the façades of eastern Bosnia

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2009 by visegrad92

Author: Martin Woker, Visegrad
Uploaded: Monday, 21 July, 2008

A moving report translated from ‘Neue Zürcher Zeitung’ (Zurich) outlines the problems faced by those who would like to market the Bridge over the Drina in the small town of Visegrad in eastern Bosnia. The Visegrad authorities are hoping for a boost from the fact that the bridge has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But the town is a place still burdened by the terrible crimes committed there in the recent war.

Sometimes a paint-job renovation can really work wonders. Thus, for instance, in the shady garden of the Hotel Visegrad in the small town of the same name in eastern Bosnia. The furniture has been freshly painted and the façade of the inn also glows in new colours. The tables are well occupied at lunchtime today, mainly by locals, as one can tell from the licence plates of the cars in the parking lot. Five years ago the place still looked completely run-down and was hardly frequented by visitors. Its garden restaurant is located next to the eastern end of the stone bridge, which was built 420 years ago to make a difficult and dangerous river-crossing easier on the highway leading from Sarajevo to Istanbul. This spring, UNESCO’s secretary-general, Koichiro Matsuura, visited and bestowed a certificate on the bridge, which had been inscribed on the World Heritage List the previous year. Since that time, Bosnia-Herzegovina is now represented by two sites on UNESCO’s list: the bridge over the Neretva in Mostar, and the one over the Drina in Visegrad.

A stage for three and a half centuries

Unlike the bridge in Mostar, which was completely destroyed in the recent war and became a much-photographed object once again only after being rebuilt four years ago, the Bridge of Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic in Visegrad is at least in part an original structure that bears witness to ‘the cultural exchanges between the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire and the Mediterranean world, between Christianity and Islam, through the long course of history,’ in UNESCO’s formulation. What is understood by such cultural exchanges was described by the author (and

diplomat) Ivo Andric, who grew up in Visegrad living with his aunt and died in 1975, in his most famous work, The Bridge on the Drina. The novel was part of his Bosnian trilogy, which earned him the Nobel Prize for literature in 1961. Andric’s works were required reading in the schools of the former Yugoslavia.

‘The bridge is about two hundred and fifty paces long and about ten paces wide save in the middle where it widens out into two completely equal terraces placed symmetrically on either side of the roadway and making it twice its normal width. This was the part of the bridge known as the kapija, the gate. Two buttresses had been built there on each side of the central pier which had been splayed out towards the top, so that to right and left of the roadway there were two terraces daringly and harmoniously projecting outwards from the straight line of the bridge over the noisy green waters far below. … That on the right as one came from the town was called the sofa. It was raised by two steps and bordered by benches for which the parapet served as a back steps, benches and parapet were all made of the same shining stone. That on the left, opposite the sofa, was similar but without benches. … On this part of the terrace a coffee-maker had installed himself with his copper vessels and Turkish cups and ever-lighted charcoal brazier, and an apprentice who took the coffee over the way to the guests on the sofa. Such was the kapija.’

In the 400 pages that follow, the kapija to a certain extent forms the stage for a lively tableau, extending over three and a half centuries, of life in Andric’s home town and of its Muslim, Christian and Jewish inhabitants. For a long time the bridge freed Visegrad from its geographically marginal position and brought travellers from all the world to the little town. The aim of the present local authorities is to find a way to latch on to this tradition. Opposite the hotel stands a new pavilion, recently built and still closed and empty but already marked as a tourist information centre. Right around the corner, built in a daring Yugo-modernist style, is the tall Robna kuca. That is what almost all department stores were called in the former Yugoslavia. In Visegrad, where the sparse traffic makes pedestrian zones unnecessary, this relic of a vanished era has not only survived but, it appears, it has even gotten a new paint job. Nevertheless, this Visegrad is hardly a boom town, but thanks to the bridge that is supposed to change soon.

Bold plans

At least that’s how the future looks to Milan Milicevic, the town’s current mayor and a member of the Serbian Democratic Party, founded by Radovan Karadzic. The chain-smoking town father first presents the visitor with an English edition of Andric’s novel, autographed by the mayor himself. Then he lays out his bold plans, which are to culminate in a close partnership with the

city of Mostar and are to include a project to rebuild a narrow-gauge railroad that was abandoned in the 1970s. All that is to be for the enjoyment of future hordes of tourists, who can come here to admire a newly re-established Orthodox monastery and, of course, the bridge, which is to be artfully restored in the near future by a Turkish firm, at a cost of 3 million euros.

At present, says Milicevic, most of the visitors come from Serbia or from the Republika Srpska, as the entity created during the recent war calls itself. But the first Japanese and Germans have already been sighted. An upswing in tourism is expected, he says. But where in Visegrad are all these foreign visitors supposed to stay overnight? Those coming from the Dalmatian coast could not possibly do the excursion as a day-trip. No problem, says the mayor. In the town and its vicinity there are three hotels with more than 400 beds.

One of these stands in a lonesome, wooded side-valley a bit further downstream and is part of a spa resort called Vilina Vlas. On the steps leading into the barely 30-year-old building (also built in the unmistakable Yugo-style) two cigarette-smoking gentlemen are standing, one of them with crutches. They are here to take the cure in the healing waters of the hot springs, which contain radioactive elements. The hotel is still awaiting privatization. The city administration, its present owner, has had some of the walls freshly painted, which however has not really improved matters. Seven cars and a tour bus (with Serbian licence plates) stand in the parking lot. Most of the 160 beds are not taken, despite the moderate price charged for room and board. Unthinking visitors from rich Europe might possibly appreciate the down-at-the-heels exoticism of the place. Unless they thought first to enter its name into an internet search engine.

Whoever does that will encounter abysses of human perversion that would shake even the most blunted sensibilities. Those who come across the research of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network [BIRN] concerning the events of April 1992 in Vilina Vlas will find themselves transported into a wartime reality that could not be more terrible or more repulsive. The hotel served as the headquarters for the Serb militia in Visegrad during that period, while they were carrying out the so-called ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the area. At the same time it also served as a provisional prison for abducted Muslim civilians, mainly women and girls who were systematically raped in the hotel rooms. There are credible witness testimonies of the most severely abused female captives, who saved themselves from their tormentors by leaping across the balcony railings and committing suicide. The principal perpetrator and leader of the militia was a man born in the region, 25 years old at the time, by the name of Milan Lukic, who in the early spring of 1992, when fighting first broke out in the Drina valley, left his place of residence in Zurich in order to turn the idea of a Greater Serbia, promoted by figures such as Vojislav Seselj and other war criminals, into a reality in his homeland.

What was required to achieve this aim was the expulsion of all non-Serbs from Visegrad and its surroundings. In the 1991 census, 62 percent of the slightly more than 21,000 inhabitants had identified themselves as Bosniaks (Muslims), while only half as many were Serbs. Thus, just as in other regions of Bosnia affected by ‘ethnic cleansing,’ terror was employed as the principal method of driving out the Muslim majority population in Visegrad. The indictment issued against Milan Lukic by the UN tribunal in The Hague lists a series of executions and murders of Muslim civilians. Women, men, old people and children died locked inside houses which were set on fire by Lukic’s militiamen. Rapes, however, are not mentioned in the indictment.

Unpunished crimes

Bakira Hasecic, president of the association ‘Women Victims of War in Bosnia and Herzegovina,’ has bitter things to say about this fact. She herself comes from Visegrad, a survivor of rapes and other abuse along with her two underage daughters, and she is sure that she would always recognize Milan Lukic again, since he is missing an index finger. The event that prompted the founding of the association was a one-day organized return of Muslim women to Visegrad to visit their destroyed homes. What caused most indignation during the visit, says Hasecic, was that she and the other women recognized three of their former tormentors, although the men were now wearing the uniforms of the regular police of the Republika Srpska. The three later may well have been brought before a court. But the shock the women suffered finally prompted them to establish the association. Prior to that, the subject of rapes had been treated as strictly taboo in Bosnia. ‘It was very difficult for us to admit it publicly,’ says Hasecic, ‘we had to lay bare our souls to do it.’

That conversation took place two years ago, on the occasion of a showing of the award-winning Bosnian film Grbavica, which is based on the theme of a girl born as a result of a wartime rape and her relationship with her mother. At the time, Hasecic and other women victims from Visegrad could not understand why Milan Lukic, who was arrested in Argentina in the summer of 2005, was not charged also with rape, even though there was more than enough judicially relevant evidence for it. According to a report by BIRN, the prosecutors in The Hague have recently asked the court to expand Lukic’s indictment to include charges of rape, torture and abuse of prisoners. The acceptance of this request by the court would mean a partial success for the association of women victims: a result of their tirelessly maintained public pressure.

Function as a meeting place lost

Their insistence on reminding the public of the countless atrocities which took place only 16 years ago, and which for the most part have not led to prosecutions of those responsible, necessarily brought Hasecic and other victims of the war into the foreground of UNESCO’s festive certification of the bridge. On the bridge they placed a memorial tablet (which has long since been removed again), and they read out a list of the names of all the victims of the war from the Visegrad region: 3,000 according to their count, while other sources speak of between 1,200 and 1,500 dead. In any case, Visegrad is no longer the town described by Andric. Only a very small number of the expelled Bosniaks have returned to their rebuilt houses. Their exact number is unknown. The ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the region has been accomplished; what remains is a town robbed of its Balkan multiculturalism and thereby deprived of its richness.

On the day after the murder of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Franz Ferdinand, on 28 June 1914, writes Andric, an official announcement was posted on the kapija: ‘… printed in fat letters and framed with a broad black border. It announced to the people the news of the assassination of the crown prince in Sarajevo, and expressed outrage over this misdeed. But not one among those who passed in front of the announcement stopped to read it, but all passed by the poster and by the guard posted there with their heads lowered, walking as fast as they could.’

As of three months ago, a plaque placed at the end of the bridge announces its world-wide significance as a heritage site. The inscription arouses the interest of very few tourists who have come to visit the bridge on this early summer day. The locals who would pass it with their heads bowed are not to be seen. The historic structure has lost its function as a meeting place. The last time that the kapija served as a stage, for the time being, was during the summer of 1992. It was a stage for the murder of innocents, whose bodies disappeared into the Drina. But there is neither a novel nor an inscription to bear witness to that. And it is also not mentioned in the new tourist guidebooks that are gradually starting to appear again in Bosnia. Could it be that the paint-job renovation has achieved the effect it aimed for? Let us hope not.

Translated by András Riedlmayer from Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 11 July 2008. Martin Voker is the newspaper’s South-East Europe correspondent

Source: Bosnian Institute

JNA linked to Ethnic Cleansing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2009 by visegrad92

Yugoslav army implicated in atrocities against Muslims in eastern Bosnian town.

By Emir Suljagic in The Hague (TU 323, 05 September 2003)

A witness in the Milosevic trial this week accused Yugoslav army, JNA, troops of crossing the border into Bosnia to ethnically cleanse the town of Visegrad in the early phase of the Bosnian war.

The claim is potentially hugely significant – prosecutors say Milosevic, then the president of Serbia, had control over Yugoslav security forces.

Testifying under a pseudonym B-1505, he said JNA troops came to Visegrad, took control of the eastern Bosnian town and helped expel the Muslim population.

JNA troops turned up in Visegrad in mid April 1992, under the command of Colonel Dragoljub Ojdanic, one of Milosevic’s top commanders.

B-1505 said he met the colonel in person on two occasions in the town. Once, while waiting for him at army headquarters, he said he overheard five JNA officers planning the ethnic cleansing of local Muslims.

One pulled out a map of the town on the table, and said that the right bank of the Drina river was “clear”. “And tomorrow, we will cleanse this part,” the witness claimed the officer said.

B-1505 said the colonel took him to a place where 3,000 to 4,000 people had taken refuge. The witness insisted that the JNA protect them. Ojdanic then ordered one of his subordinates to arrange for them to be brought into the town.

The next day, thousands of civilians were escorted to Visegrad’s football pitch. When they arrived, they were split into four groups and searched before being allowed to leave. They could not go home, however.

A JNA officer, which the witness could identify only as Colonel Jovanovic, told them that they would only be able to go to the villages that were under his control. He said that outside this area there were Serb paramilitary units, the White Eagles, roaming around and they would kill Muslims on sight.

Then came apparent confirmation of links between the Bosnian Serbs and Yugoslav army. While waiting to see the colonel at the Visegrad Hotel, the witness saw Bosnian Serb vice president Biljana Plavsic arrive with Branimir Savovic, head of the local Serbian Democratic Party. They arrived for talks with the JNA officers.

“They went into a room. I was told later that colonel could not see me and that I should come the next day,” he said.

In the next few days, JNA took control of Visegrad.

Later, atrocities took place across the town, with Muslims taken to its famous bridge, shot and dumped into the river.

Milosevic denied that JNA had taken part in the ethnic cleansing there, saying the whole testimony was “a lie”.

But the witness said there was a simple fact that underpinned his testimony, “There were 13,000-14,000 Muslims before the war. There was none in 1993. And there are 1,500 today.”

Emir Suljagic is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.

Source: IWPR


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

In its closing argument, the prosecution has called for a sentence that will ensure that Milan and Sredoje Lukic ‘will remain in prison for the rest of their lives’, a sentence that will send a clear message that there is no mercy for those capable of committing such heinous crimes. Milan Lukic’s defense contends the prosecution has failed to prove Milan Lukic’s responsibility beyond reasonable doubt, asking for his acquittal. Sredoje Lukic’s defense will deliver its closing argument tomorrow.

Milan and Sredoje Lukic

Milan and Sredoje Lukic

‘There is only one sin, and that is theft. All other sins are variations on that theme and murder could be seen as theft of life’. Prosecutor Dermot Groome used this quote from a book Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini in his closing argument at the trial of Milan and Sredoje Lukic. Groome urged the judges to deliver the sentence that would make sure the accused ‘will spend the rest of their lives in prison’ because they ‘stole more than 3,000 years of life’ in June 1992 from the Visegrad Muslims.

Milan and Sredoje Lukic are charged with setting up the two living pyres in which about 140 people were burned to death, and with the murder and abuse of Visegrad Muslims in 1992. Murder is, as Groome put it, ‘a theft of life’, not only of the victims but also of their families and the community as a whole. If the crimes at issue in this case are seen from that point of view, the prosecution noted, it will be understood ‘that the people in Visegrad suffered inestimable loss because of the actions of the two accused and the scale of the theft’.

The prosecution wants the judgment handed down to Milan and Sredoje Lukic to ‘send a clear message’: all those who ‘might contemplate committing similar crimes and use vulnerable victims’ that they would be arrested and criminally prosecuted. They will have the right to a fair trial but if they proven guilty’ there will be ‘no mercy’ for them as they would ‘be punished to the maximum extent of the law’.

Jason Alarid

Jason Alarid

Jason Alarid, Milan Lukic’s US lawyer, contested in his closing argument the evidence of the surviving victims and other prosecution witnesses describing them as ‘liars’, ‘lunatics’, ‘alcoholics’ and ‘hysterical persons’. Alarid challenged the identification of his client and questioned whether the living pyres in the Pionirska Street and in Bikavac actually happened. According to him, it has not been established whether there was a fire there and the victims have not been identified. In Alarid’s view, the prosecution has failed to contest the ‘irrefutable evidence on the alibi’ of Milan Lukic: therefore, all the witnesses who claimed that they saw the accused at the crime scene ‘lied’. The prosecution, Alarid contends, failed to investigate the Visegrad crimes properly and has not been able to call evidence which would prove his client’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. This is why, the defense counsel argued, Milan Lukic should be acquitted on all counts in the indictment.

The defense of the second accused, Sredoje Lukic, will deliver its closing argument tomorrow afternoon.

Dutch handwriting expert Wil Fagel

Dutch handwriting expert Wil Fagel

Before the closing arguments, the last prosecution witness, Dutch handwriting expert Wil Fagel took the stand. Fagel concluded that the signature of former police commander in Visegrad, Risto Perisic, was forged on the document corroborating Milan Lukic’s alibi for the fire in the Pionirska Street. In the cross-examination of the Dutch handwriting expert, the defense implied that Perisic intentionally signed the document differently in order to be able to deny the authenticity of his signatures later and avoid any responsibility for the crimes. In its final brief the defense contends that Milan Lukic was indicted to direct the attention away from ‘the true leaders in Visegrad in 1992’, including Risto Perisic.

Source: Sense-agency


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2009 by visegrad92


Bratunac Genocide Remembered

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2009 by visegrad92
Narcisa Salihovic, six months old when she was murdered by Serb soldiers

Narcisa Salihovic, six months old when she was murdered by Serb soldiers

In solidarity with Bratunac.

Today the youngest victim to be laid to rest is 6 months old and the oldest 110 years old.

Today the youngest victim to be laid to rest is 6 months old and the oldest 110 years old.

Bratunac Genocide victims murdered systematically in 1992 by the Republika Srpska Army.

Bratunac Genocide victims murdered systematically in 1992 by the Republika Srpska Army.

Bosniak victims carried to their final resting place by family members and relatives.

Bosniak victims carried to their final resting place by family members and relatives.

The Vuk Karadzic School was a concentration camp in 1992.Bosniak civilians were beaten, humiliated and murdered.

Bratunac Genocide survivor, after months in Vuk Karadzic School concentration camp.

Bratunac Genocide survivor, after months in Vuk Karadzic School concentration camp.

Bosniak victim showing crosses drawn on his body with a knife by Republika Srpska Army soldiers.

Bosniak victim showing crosses drawn on his body with a knife by Republika Srpska Army soldiers.


In Memoriam: Himzo Demir

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

Himzo Demir, head-teacher of Višegrad High School.

Himzo Demir, head-teacher of Višegrad High School.

Himzo Demir was the head-teacher of Višegrad High School in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and had formerly been a chemistry teacher.He was 54 years old, and married with two sons. At the beginning of the war, the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) took control of Višegrad, and began the large-scale persecution of the town’s Bosniac [Bosnian Muslim] population. Himzo Demir was summarily sacked from his job, as were many other Bosniacs who held influential positions in the local community. Mr Demir had also served as the headof the local government as a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

At approximately 4pm on 28 May 1992 Himzo Demir was at home with his wife Sadija and one of his sons when five cars surrounded the house, and six or seven people wearing camouflage uniforms came to the door. Mrs Demir believes that these men were members of the “White Eagles”, a paramilitary group operating in eastern Bosnia, but mainly originating from Serbia. They said that they wanted to take Himzo Demir and his son for questioning. The couple’s eldest son was in Sarajevo at the time, but their younger 15-year-old son was with them. Mrs Demir begged the men not to take her son away, and they did not take him.

One member of the group – who was known to the family as one of Mr Demir’s former pupils – patted Himzo Demir on the shoulder, saying “You were the best school principal”. Others in the group spoke with accents which suggested to Mrs Demir that they came from what is now the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). These men also searched the house for valuables and stole some jewellery that they found. Himzo Demir was driven away in a red “Lada” car and has not been seen since.

Five days after he was taken away, the deputy head of the school where Himzo Demir used to work asked Mrs Demir to provide him with the school’s official stamp. Mrs Demir believes that this stamp was needed to stamp certificates for students leaving at the end of that school year. Although Himzo Demir had been sacked, he was officially still the head of the school and would have been required to sign the certificates. She believes that her husband was still alive at this time, but believes that he was killed a few days later.

Mrs Demir asked the local police to help her find her husband, but received no information about the whereabouts of her husband. On 31 May she, and her son, fled from Višegrad and – after a period in hiding – eventually made their way to Goražde which was then controlled by the Bosnian Government, and where they still live.

Editor’s Note:Text taken from Amnesty International; Bosnia-Herzegovina: The “disappeared”: Himzo Demir – head-teacher: “disappeared from Visegrad

Preventiva in Visegrad?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2009 by visegrad92

*Preventiva – the network of guards and contacts protecting Karadzic.

On 26.01.2005. an anonymous email arrived at Nezavisne Novine ( a newspaper in Banja Luka) which claimed that Preventiva was planning assassinations in Republika Srpska. The author of the email distanced himself from the murder of Bosniaks in Visegrad and even called it “genocide“. He claimed that he was a member of the war Presidency in Visegrad municipality and that he “could not help the poor people who suffered in Visegrad” because the main people in charge were “Brane Savovic and Risto Perisic“.

Milan Lukic led away in a police car in Argentina after being arrested.

Milan Lukic led away in a police car in Argentina after being arrested.

The author also named  a few Visegrad Serbs who were supposedly targeted for assassinations: Drazen Perendija, Stojan Papic, Mile Lukic and  Mile Peric.

The letter continues naming members of the “Preventiva“:

Milan Josipovic, former Police commander and  Drazen Knezevic, policeman as the leaders for Eastern Bosnia. Policemen Lelek, Goran Nedic, Srecko Nedic, Novak Poluga, Miro Moljevic and ex-policemen Rakovic and Milicevic.

For the Sarajevo-Romanija region Milovan – Cicko Bijelica. For the Banja Luka-Posavina region Radomir Njegus and for Hercegovina Zoran Mandic.

For financial support, the main persons in charge Brane Smiljic, aka Zika, from Visegrada; Pecikoza, former director of  a firm called “Terpentina”;former director of  Dam “Visegrad” Marjanovic.

According to the letter all important meeting were held in Zlatiboru, in the apartments of Branimir Savovic, Brane Smiljica and Riste Perisica. The core of the organization are Branimir Savovic, Radomir Njegus, Risto Perisic, Cicko Bijelica, Milan Josipovic and Momcilo Mandic,who was in charge for contact with the State Security of Serbia.

The letter also states who is in charge of supplying the organization with weapons: former commander of the  Visegrad brigade Luka Dragicevic and Milan Kosoric, who during war-time supplied Serb Democratic Party with weapons from Serbia. Persons in charge for logistics: Radoje Tasic, journalist from Visegrad, and lawyer Radomir Tanaskovic.

As for the author, at the end of the letter he claims that his role during the war was to gather material support mostly from outside of Bosnia. He mentions that he worked with Miroslav Kojic.

He also admits that he is writing this because he found out that Branimir Savovic and Risto Perisic are planing to plant him an indictment at the Hague so as to save themselves. He also notices that not a single member of the war Presidency has been indicted for war crimes.

War-time picture of Milan Lukic in a military uniform in Visegrad.

War-time picture of Milan Lukic in a military uniform in Visegrad.

VGM Editor’s Note: On 8. April 2005 an email signed by Milan Lukic arrived at “Nezavisne Novine” in which he blames some leading Visegrad Serbs for killing his brother Novica. This letter where he calls Savovic and Perisic “communist scum”, is not important because of its content as it is for other reasons. Namely, thanks to this  email, Hague investigators were able to track down Lukic in Argentina. And also “Nezavisne Novine” published that this letter and the last letter giving details about “Preventiva” came from the same server. So most certainly Lukic is the author of the previous email.

*Read: How he slipped into hiding by Ed Vulliamy

*Read:Lukic set to face trial for Visegrad Terror by Nerma Jelacic

*Full letter in Bosnian here.