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Bosnians Commemorate Mountain Massacre Victims

21. August 2014.00:00
Survivors of the Koricani Cliffs massacre marked the anniversary of the execution of more than 150 Bosniak and Croat civilian prisoners from Prijedor at Mount Vlasic in August 1992.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Mourners commemorated those who died 22 years ago on Thursday by throwing 200 white roses off the Koricani Cliffs on Mount Vlasic in central Bosnia into the ravine below, where the bodies of the victims and a few survivors were found.

It is believed that between 150 and 190 Bosniak and Croat civilians were killed by Bosnian Serb police after being brought from the Trnopolje detention camp near Prijedor, although only 92 bodies have been found so far.

“Koricanske Stijene [the Koricani Cliffs] is one of 657 places where there were crimes against prison camp detainees. In this specific case, around 200 detainees were brought here, they were executed in the most severe way over an abyss 300 metres deep,” said Jasmin Meskovic, the head of the Association of Prison Camp Detainees in Bosnia, which organised the commemoration.

“What is most sad is that victims’ families are still searching for the remains,” he added.

Dzevad Smajic, one of the survivors of the massacre, said that he only escaped death by chance after Bosnian Serb police took a some of the men from the prisoner convoy away to the cliffs, but left others behind.

“Around 250 people were taken from the buses and the truck. I was one of them. After that they started putting people on the buses again, allegedly for a prisoner exchange. One policeman brought me back to the truck and I stayed alive by coincidence, and the others were not that lucky,” Smajic said.

He called on police officers from Prijedor who participated in the killings to come forward with the truth about the massacre.

The Hague Tribunal and the Bosnian court has so far convicted 11 former policemen from Prijedor of involvement in the killings.

For further prosecutions, new witnesses are needed, said Sabahudin Garibovic, president of the regional association of prison camp detainees and one of the survivors from the convoy.

“We do not have enough witnesses and testimonies about the crimes that were committed not only here at Koricanske Stijene, but also at other places. I appeal to all citizens who know something to come forward up in order to get the indictments,” Garibovic said.

Kenan Kavazović

This post is also available in: Bosnian