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Sijekovac killings

 

Sijekovac killings

Sijekovac killings
Sijekovac massacres
Location Sijekovac, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Date 1992
Target Serbs
Deaths 47
Perpetrators Croatian Army,
Croatian militia

The Sijekovac killings refer to the March 1992 killing of around 47 Serbs in the village of Sijekovac near Bosanski Brod, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The deaths were allegedly unlawful, and there have been allegations that the casualties included not just soldiers but civilians. The assailants were members of Croat and Bosniak army units.[1][2][3]

As contradictory data appeared in the media, and the events have not passed a court validation yet, the full course of the case is unknown. The incident is sometimes politicized by both the Croatian and Serbian media.

The fighting in Posavina began in early March 1992, after Serbian Territorial Defense forces set up barricades in the town of Bosanski Brod and tried to seize the strategically important bridge linking the town with Croatia, prompting the local Croats and Muslims to form a joint headquarters, and to request assistance from the Croatian Army, based just across the border in Slavonski Brod.[4] Following a ceasefire of several weeks the JNA and Serb militias once again attacked the town, launching a heavy artillery bombardment and sniper fire, and looting took place in the Croat quarter of the town.[5] The Croats retaliated by attacking the village of Sijekovac, located southwest of Bosanski Brod, on the left side of the river Sava, across from Croatia. At the time, as the Bosnian War was starting, it was still populated by members of all three nations of Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the initial reports in 1992, three members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina arrived by helicopter to investigate a reported "dozen killed civilians".[1]

The Serb authorities at the time immediately claimed that Serb civilians were massacred in Sijekovac.[6] According to a 1993 report by Helsinki Watch, there was no evidence of the use of excessive force.[7] The report was based on interviews with some twenty Serb villagers that had fled the area, who said that those killed were armed combatants engaged in hostilities, or civilians caught in the crossfire.[6] Under international law, deaths under crossfire cannot be considered as genocide.[7]

The authorities of Republika Srpska marked the site with a monument listing 47 casualties.[8] Among those publicly implicated by the Serbian side are the 108th brigade of Croatian National Guard (by then renamed into the Croatian Army),[2][3] the Intervention Squad of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina[3] and the Croatian Defence Forces.[3]

In 2002, during the ICTY Prijedor massacre Trial against Milomir Stakić, former leader of the Bosnian Serbs in Prijedor, the Defence called a survivor of the alleged massacre in Sijekovac in order to support a claim that the war in Bosnia and Hercegovina was caused not by the Serbs, but by incursions into Bosnian territory by the Croatian army to the north of Bosanski Šamac.[9][10][11]

In 2004, Federal Commission for Tracing Missing persons started exhumations near

  1. ^ a b  
  2. ^ a b "Poziv zvaničnicima na pomen za 60 ubijenih Srba u Sijekovcu".  
  3. ^ a b c d e "Hrvatski predsjednik dočekan pljeskom - Josipović odao počast ubijenim srpskim civilima".  
  4. ^ CIA Balkan Battlegrounds Volume II, p. 311
  5. ^ Nederlands Institut voor Oologsdocumentatie, Part I The Yugoslavian problem and the role of the West 1991-1994 Chapter 5 The start of the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina: March 1992 – May 1992
  6. ^ a b Cushman, Thomas; Meštrović, Stjepan Gabriel (1996). This Time We Knew. Western Responses to Genocide in Bosnia. New York University Press. p. 98.  
  7. ^ a b Nizich, Ivana (1993). War crimes in Bosnia-Hercegovina.  
  8. ^ a b "Posavljaci Josipoviću - Ne idite u Bosansku Posavinu, Dodik će vas prevariti".  
  9. ^ "Testimony of one Nijaz Kapetanović". Case Number IT-97-24-T, the Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.  
  10. ^ "Courtside: Prijedor Genocide Trial".  
  11. ^ "Open session". Case Number IT-97-24-T, the Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.  
  12. ^ a b c d  
  13. ^  
  14. ^ a b Garmaz, Željko; Matkić, Zoran (2004-08-13). "Djeca iskopana iz grobnice u Sijekovcu nisu iz Vukovara".  

References

In May 2010, the leaders of Republika Srpska Rajko Kuzmanović and Milorad Dodik, the Croatian president Ivo Josipović and the prominent Bosniak leader Sulejman Tihić visited the site to pay respect to around fifty civilian victims of the March 1992 events, at the local Orthodox Church of Saint Marina the Martyr.[3] The site and the visit provoked some controversy in the Croatian public, with allegations of impropriety levelled against President Josipović and the authorities of Republika Srpska for misattributing some of the casualties.[8]

[14] The presiding officer of the Federal Commission for Missing Persons Marko Jurišić also stated unequivocally that the identities of the majority of the bodies were unknown and that they only analysis from forensic medicine experts could determine that.[14] Several exhumation officials initially suspected that most victims were civilians from

[12]. The first 8 bodies found had personal objects (cloths, T-shirt, a belt, buttons, spectacles), yet the remaining 49 bodies had no objects that could help in their identification. Among them there were 18 bodies of children.Federation Commission for Missing Persons had taken 14 days, and that the victims were for the most part Serb civilians. The exhumation recovered 59 corpses and was done under the supervision of exhumations, Enisa Adrović, noted the Zenica Judge of the Zenica-Doboj Court from [12]

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