Today marks the 27th anniversary of the abduction and murder of 16 Bosniak citizens of Serbia from Sjeverin. The killed Sjeverins have not yet been properly buried, all the killers have not yet been convicted, and the state of Serbia has not confessed to its crime.
On October 22 1992, members of the Serbian paramilitary unit “Avengers”, led by Milan Lukić, abducted 15 men and one woman from the Priboj-Rudo bus, crossing the territory of Republika Srpska in Mioče, at the Amfora pub, took them to Višegrad, where they were mentally and physically abused and then killed on the Drina coast. These Serbian citizens were killed just because they were Muslim.
The Sjeverins killed: Mehmed Šebo, Zafer Hadžić, Medo Hadžić, Medredin Hodžić, Ramiz Begović, Derviš Softić, Medhad Softić, Mujo Alihodžić, Alija Mandal, Sead Pecikoza, Mustafa Bajramović, Hajrudin Sajtarević, Esad Džahić, Ramahudin Đatović, Ediz Gibović, and one woman, Mevlida Koldžić.
Persons sentenced for this crime by the court in Serbia: Milan Lukić and Oliver Krsmanović (in absentia), and Dragutin Dragicević to 20 years and Đorđe Šević to 15 years in prison. Unfortunately, the Hague Tribunal did not address this crime either.
Women in Black and the Youth Initiative for Human Rights consider that neither the first instance nor the Supreme Court accepted that the convicts belonged to the Republika Srpska Army, which was funded, organised and supported by the then Yugoslav Army. The courts concealed the state’s responsibility, although it was established during the trial.
The Law on the Protection of Civilian Victims of War does not recognise the Sjeverin victims since this shameful law does not recognise the citizens of their own country as civilian victims of war, because the war was not conducted on Serbian territory, the victims were abducted in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the victims were not killed by the enemy in the conflict. We require the state of Serbia to begin compensating surviving family members of the victims from Sjeverin.
In the name of justice, on behalf of the dignity of the victims, we demand that Serbia arrests the perpetrators and their commanders. Until Serbia faces these and all other crimes committed on our behalf, it will continue to be a safe house for convicted war criminals and an oasis of impunity.