Compensation lawsuit against the Republic of Serbia for the murder of Mušan Hasović

The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) filed a compensation lawsuit on April 26, 2007 on behalf of Emina Muratović, Zahida Rovčanin, Rašida Kaltak, Mevla Berbo, Ramiza Arbak, Džamila Čalaković, and Husein Husović for compensation of non-pecuniary damages against the Republic of Serbia because of the responsibility of the state for the murder of their father Mušan Hasović, committed by members of the Yugoslav Army (VJ) in the Kukurovići village on February 18, 1993.

Since May 8, 1992, until the end of the armed conflict in BiH, a lot of members of the reserve force of VJ from the Užice Corps were deployed to Kukurovići and other villages in the Priboj municipality lying along the border with BiH. According to statements given by eyewitness to HLC researchers, members of VJ abused Bosniak residents of the village and illegally searched their houses. The village of Kukurovići was inhabited by Bosniaks only.

During the afternoon hours of February 18, 1993, the village of Kukurovići was attacked by infantry and mortar fire from three VJ positions surrounding the village. The residents, among whom were also the children, fearing for their lives, fled through the woods in the direction of Pljevlja and Priboj. While running away, some of them saw their houses on fire. Two days later, several villagers went back to Kukurovići to check on their property. They found their houses burnt down and their cattle slaughtered. The bodies of Uzeir Bulatović, Mušan Husović, and Fatima Sarač, who were not able to leave the village together with everybody else, were found in burnt houses.

An investigative judge conducted a crime scene investigation, but never conducted any other investigative activity or interviewed any of the Kukurovići village residents in an attempt to find perpetrators of this crime. On October 23, 2006 HLC filed a criminal complaint against unidentified members of the Užice Corps of the VJ at the District Office of the Prosecutor in Užice. On October 27, 2006, the Office of the Prosecutor informed the HLC that the case was redirected to the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor.

Before filing a lawsuit, HLC contacted the Office of the Public Defender of the Republic of Serbia in order to reach a settlement agreement with the Republic of Serbia, but this initiative remained unanswered.

HLC calls upon the Serbian state institutions to adopt recommendations from the United Nations General Assembly Resolution of December 16, 2005, act in compliance with their obligations arising from domestic and international law, and provide compensation to victims of actions or failure to act which can be attributed to the state and which constitute grave breaches of international human rights law and serious violations of the international humanitarian law.