16 Year Commemoration of the Death of 16 Bosniaks from Sjeverin

On Wednesday, 22 October 2008, it will be 16 years since 16 Bosniaks from Sjeverin, citizens of the Republic of Serbia, were kidnapped and murdered. Their mortal remains have not yet been found. The state of Serbia does not participate in the commemoration of the death of these Bosniaks from Sjeverin and is not ready to grant pecuniary compensation to the victims’ families for the suffering they have endured all these years.

The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) calls upon the Government of the Republic of Serbia to investigate and publicly disclose the location where the mortal remains of the Bosniaks from Sjeverin have been concealed and to show respect for the families of the killed by raising a memorial.

Sixteen inhabitants of Sjeverin, 15 men and one woman, left their homes on 22 October 1992 in order to go to work or do some other business in Priboj. They took a regular bus line. In the village of Mioče (Bosnia and Herzegovina), through which the bus to Priboj travelled, in the vicinity of Rudo, a group of Republic of Srpska Army soldiers, under the command of Milan Lukić, stopped the bus near the Amforabar. After identifying the passengers, they removed only Bosniaks from the bus, 16 of them, while the other passengers remained on the bus. The Bosniaks were taken by truck to Višegrad (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Vilina Vlas Hotel. Milan Lukić and others brutally abused the prisoners in the hotel and then took them to the bank of the Drina River where they executed them. The bodies have never been found.

In July 2005, the Belgrade District Court convicted Milan Lukić, Oliver Krsmanović, Dragutin Dragićević, and Đorđe Šević to long-term jail sentences. The Serbian Supreme Court confirmed this verdict in April 2006. Oliver Krsmanović is still at large while Milan Lukić is being tried before the Hague Tribunal for crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to the Law on the Civilians Disabled in War, families of the killed Bosniaks from Sjeverin are not entitled to the state aid because they were not killed “by the enemy during the war, during war operations, by remaining war material or enemy sabotage or terrorist operations.” Therefore, HLC, on behalf of 25 members of families of 16 Bosniaks from Sjeverin, filed a compensation lawsuit against the Republic of Serbia on 26 June 2007. By the 16th anniversary of the murder, the court had examined only two witnesses.

The victims of this crime are: Mehmed Šebo, Zafer Hadžić, Medo Hadžić, Medredin Hodžić, Ramiz Begović, Derviš Softić, Medhad Softić, Mujo Alihodžić, Alija Mandal, Sead Pecikoza, Mustafa Bajramović, Hajrudin Sajtarević, Esad Džihić, Ramahudin Ćatović, Idriz Gibović, and Mevlida Koldžić.