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Visegrad Bosniaks Demand Memorial to Inferno Killings

18. November 2013.00:00
Families of more than 50 Bosniak victims burned alive in Visegrad in 1992 are protesting against the potential destruction of the house where they died to make way for a new road.

This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)

Victims’ relatives have launched protests against the proposed road construction despite the fact that the Visegrad municipality government has not yet decided whether it will knock down the house where the Bosniaks died in June 1992.

They burned to death after Bosnian Serb fighters herded them into the house on Pionirska Street and set it alight; a war crime described by a Hague Tribunal judge as one of the “worst acts of inhumanity”.

A decision to build the road nearby was made three years ago and several properties expropriated, but its exact route has yet to be determined.

But a local victims’ association, Woman – Victim of War, claims that the expropriation decision also proposes the destruction of the Pionirska Street house.

“We understand this [road-building] needs to be done, but it can be done two metres away from the home,” said the association’s president, Bakira Hasecic.

Victims’ relatives want the house rebuilt and part of it turned into a memorial.

The Hague Tribunal jailed former Bosnian Serb paramilitary leader Milan Lukic to life in prison and his cousin Sredoje Lukic to 27 years for their involvement in the Visegrad killings and other war crimes.

Last month, Hasecic and some of her friends started reconstruction work, but were ordered to stop by the local authorities.

Aleksandar Djokanovic from the Visegrad municipality’s urban planning section said that all the other houses affected by the proposed road construction had already been expropriated, and that “this is the only house we [still] need”.

Asked whether the municipality wants the entire house or part of its grounds and whether the road could be built next to the house, Djokanovic responded that he did not know.

Hasecic argued that by expropriating the house, the municipality is “obstructing [refugees’] right to return and destroying evidence of crimes”.

Selma Učanbarlić

This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)