Sarajevo to Build Massacre Memorial without Naming Perpetrators

27. October 2021.13:50
Sarajevo will install a memorial to the mostly Serb victims killed in 1992 and 1993 at Kazani in the hills above the city on the orders of a Bosniak commander of a Bosnian Army brigade, but without naming the perpetrators.

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A mock-up of the proposed memorial design. Illustration: Sarajevo City Council.

Sarajevo City Council on Wednesday voted to erect a monument to the mostly ethnic Serb civilian victims of the wartime Kazani Pit killings, but rejected a proposal by the Nasa Stranka party to name their killers on the inscription.

The inscription to be carved on the Kazani memorial, which according to Sarajevo mayor Benjamina Karic will be built by the end of the year, will include the names of the victims and the inscription: “We shall forever remember with sadness and respect our fellow citizens who were killed.”

The memorial inscription proposed by a Nasa Stranka councillor was: “At this place, by the order of Musan Topalovic Caco, commander of the Tenth Mountain Brigade of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, male and female citizens of Sarajevo were killed during 1992 and 1993. Fourteen brigade members have been sentenced for those crimes. The number of victims is not final.”

In a debate before the vote, Nasa Stranka councillor Adi Skaljic said the party was guided by court judgments from 1996 and 1999.

“Those judgments clearly say that the murders were committed by order of the commander of the Tenth Mountain Brigade of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Musan Topalovic Caco, and that four brigade members were sentenced for committing the killings, one was sentenced for assisting in the commission of murder and nine brigade members for concealing or failing to report those crimes,” Skaljic said.

Deputy city council chairperson Dragan Stevanovic said during the debate that he was proud of the Bosnian Army and Interior Ministry leadership, who decided “in the most difficult of times, to deal with the renegade members who committed crimes” by prosecuting the perpetrators.

“The Nasa Stranka councillors proposed the amendment which I consider acceptable, but I’ll eventually vote in favour of mayor Karic’s proposal, not because it is the best, but because we have to start from something. We are not finished until we mark each and every individual site of suffering for our fellow citizens who were killed around Sarajevo, irrespective of their names, religion or ethnicity,” Stevanovic said.

Councillor Marijela Hasimbegovic of the Demokratska Fronta party argued however that the inscription “should have been worded more delicately, they should have avoided making space to besmirch the Bosnian Army’s struggle”.

The remains of 28 victims have been exhumed from the Kazani pit – two Ukrainians, two Croats, one Bosniak and ten Serbs. The final death toll has not been officially established yet.

During and just after the war, 14 members of the Tenth Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army were convicted of committing murders at Kazani and failing report the criminal offence and its perpetrators.

The brigade’s commander, Musan Topalovic Caco, was killed in Sarajevo during an attempt to arrest him on October 26, 1993.

Jasmin Begić

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