Serbian Supreme Court Verified Verdict in Case Sjeverin

The Serbian Supreme Court verified on 18 May 2006 the verdict handed down by the Belgrade District Court, by which four members of the “Osvetnici” (Avengers) armed group within the Republic of Srpska Army were convicted to imprisonment because of the kidnapping and murder of 16 Bosniaks from the village of Sjeverin, which took place in the place called Mioče, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in October 1992. Milan Lukić, Dragutin Dragičević, Oliver Krsmanović, and Đorđe Šević were convicted for this crime.

In July 2005, after the repeated trial, the District Court handed down a verdict, which determined that on 22 October 1992, in the place called Mioče located at the border between the Republic of Serbia and BiH, a group of the Republic of Srpska Army (VRS) soldiers lead by Milan Lukić from Višegerad committed a kidnapping. They stopped a bus travelling on the Rudo-Priboj line. After they checked passengers’ identification documents, these VRS soldiers took 16 passengers of Muslim ethnicity off the bus and took them to Višegrad on a truck. In Višegrad, in front of the “Vilina Vlas” Hotel, they mistreated them, after which they took them to the bank of the river Drina where they killed all of them.

The victims of this crime are: Mehmed Šebo, Zafer Hadžić, Meda Hadžić, Medredin Hodžić, Ramiz Begović, Derviš Softić, Medhad Softić, Muja Alihodžić, Alija Mandal, Sead Pecikoza, Mustafa Bajramović, Hajrudin Sajtarević, Esad Džihić, Ramahudin Ćatović, Idriz Gibović, and Melvida Koldžić. Their bodies have never been found.

The indictment in this case was defective from the very beginning of the trial because the Osvetnici (Avengers) formation was only mentioned as a paramilitary formation and not as a unit within the Republic of Srpska Army. During the trial, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) represented the victims’ families. On this occasion, the HLC would like to remind the public that Milan Lukić and Oliver Krsmanović were tried in absentia and it also calls upon the state authorities to bring Oliver Krsmanović to justice because he is the only one at large since Milan Lukić was arrested and transferred to The Hague Tribunal in August 2005.

With the Supreme Court’s verdict the responsibility for one of the most horrific crimes committed during the armed conflicts at the territory of the former Yugoslavia against Serbian citizens of Bosniak ethnicity, was finally established. Because of the injustice and pain they were going through, the members of the victims’ families will submit, though the HLC, a damage claim against the Republic of Serbia.