Memorial for Victims of Abduction at Štrpci 27 February 2009

The memorial for victims of the kidnapping from train number 671 going from Belgrade to Bar, who were citizens of Serbia and who were killed only because of their names and religion, will be opened on Friday 27 February 2009 in Prijepolje, 16 years after the crime was committed. Representatives of Women in Black, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights and the Humanitarian Law Center will attend the opening of the memorial for victim of this crime.

At the same time, human rights organizations in Serbia call upon Serbian authorities to make a public statement on this day, at the exact time when the kidnapping took place, which is 15:48, and express their care and obligation to open an investigation into this act, identify and punish all who are responsible for the commission of this horrible crime.

On Saturday 27 February 1993, a group of soldiers of the Republic of Srpska Army, under the command of a Hague indictee Milan Lukić, kidnapped 19 people, 18 Muslims and one Croat, from the train number 671 at the Štrpci train station, and took them to the village of Prelovo, in the vicinity of Višegrad. The soldiers took them inside the elementary school gym, lined them against the wall, searched and beat them. Afterwards they tied their hands with wire, placed them inside a truck, and took them to another village in the direction of Višegrad. Milan Lukić and Boban Inđić executed the people from this train in a garage of one of the burnt houses in the immediate vicinity of the Drina River.

Only one perpetrator has been punished to date. That is Nebojša Ranisavljević. Bijelo Polje Higher Court sentenced him on 9 September 2002 to 15 years of imprisonment. The Montenegrin Supreme Court confirmed this sentence in 2004. During the proceedings, the court obtained documents, which show that the highest state authorities of the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) knew that this crime was going to take place even a month prior to the kidnapping, and they had not taken any measures to prevent it from happening. Numerous pieces of evidence were also presented pointing out that other people besides Nebojša Ranisavljević and Milan Lukić, also participated in the commission of the crime. The investigation against these other persons has not yet been conducted.

Serbian human rights organizations demand that the Republic of Serbia authorities reveal all information and facts regarding the responsibility of the then institutions and Serbian high-ranking officials for the planning and execution of this crime.

Human rights organizations express their regrets because the names of all victims will not be mentioned during the memorial opening ceremony in Štrpci, but only the names of those who were originally from Prijepolje, because all victims of this crime, regardless of their origin, should be part of the common memorial of this crime.

The names of the victims of this crime are: Esad Kapetanović, Ilijaz Ličina, Fehim Bakija, Šećo Softić, Rifeta Husovića, Sead Đečević, Ismet Babačić, Halil Zupčević, Adem Alomerović, Rasim Ćorić, Fikret Memetović, Favzija Zeković, Nijazim Kajević, Muhedin Hanić, Safet Preljević, Džafer Topuzović, Jusuf Rastoder, Zvezdan Zuličić, and Tomo Buzov.

Women in Black
Youth Initiative for Human Rights
Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights
Humanitarian Law Center