Serbia's HLC: Families of wartime victims wait for justice 27 years

NEWS 22.10.2019 14:07
Source: N1 (Ilustracija)

Serbia's Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) and Sandzak Committee for Protection of Human Rights, from the country's southwest, said on Tuesday there had been 27 years since Bosnian Serbs' Army (VRS) members abducted and killed 17 Serbia's citizens of Bosniak origin during the war in Bosnia in the town of Sjeverin near Prijepolje in south-western Serbia, N1 reported.

The night before the event, one Bosniak was abducted and has never been found.

HLC and Sandzak Committee added that the victims’ families search for the remains of their loved ones was still going on, and that was unacceptable that Serbia’s institutions had been rejecting to compensate, support the families and confess that the crime took place.

During 27 years, only remains of one victim were discovered, while the others were still classified as missing.

„The members of the „Vigilantes“ unit of the VRS stopped a bus near a bridge in Bosnia on October 22, 1992, asking for the travellers IDs, forced 16 of them out of the bus, took them into an army lorry and drove them toward Visegrad in the eastern part of today’s Republika Srpska, Bosnia’s entity, where they heavily beaten them and later killed on the bank of the Drina river.

Belgrade District Court passed sentenced four members of the Vigilantes to long-time jail terms, but despite promises from the top authorities, the real search for the remains of the killed Bosniaks had never been conducted.

Serbia’s judiciary rejected the families’ demand for compensation, ruling that there was no link between Serbia and the committed crime.

The European Court of Human Rights also rejected to consider the appeal in February 2009, with the explanation that Serbia ratified the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms after the time of the crime.

„HLC and Sandzak Committee demand from Serbia’s institutions to stop with the policy of avoiding the responsibility for the violation of human rights during the ’90s and help the victims to find out the truth about the fate of their loved ones,“ a joint statement said.