News 21 Aug 17

Bosnians Mourn Koricani Cliff Massacre Victims

Hundreds of family members, survivors and activists on Monday commemorated the 200 Bosniak and Croat men killed by Bosnian Serbs at Koricani cliff on Mt Vlasic in 1992.

Emza Fazlic
BIRN
Sarajevo
People paying respects to Koricani cliff victims. Photo: Anadolu Agency

Hundreds of family members, survivors and members of victims and camp inmates’ organisations gathered on Koricani cliff on Mt Vlasic in central Bosnia on Monday, to commemorate at least 200 Bosniak and Croat men that Bosnian Serb forces killed in 1992.

Marking the 25 anniversary of the crime, the participants threw 200 roses from the Koricani cliffs, to pay their respects to men shot there, who were previously held in the camps in the northwestern Bosnian-Serb-held town of Prijedor.

Jasmin Meskovic, president of the Alliance of Camps Inmates of Bosnia and Herzegovina, told BIRN how the men were shot in the back and throw down from the 30-metre cliff.

Although Serbian police officers threw grenades and fired additional shots down the cliff, 12 men survived the horrific massacre “by a miracle”, Meskovic said.

One of the survivors, who testified before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2009, Husein Jakupovic, described how he tried to avoid the fate of execution.

“The soldiers ordered us to leave the buses and stand in the line by the rock. A little later, they ordered us to kneel down along the edge. We knelt for a couple of minutes, and then they started firing. People fell .... I jumped down the cliff at that moment,” Jakupovic said in court.

Eleven Bosnian Serbs found guilty for the crime received a total of 200 years in prison from the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, the ICTY, and the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Meskovic said it was far too little. “The perpetrators received 211 years of imprisonment for killing 200 innocent civilians at the Court of BiH … It is shameful. Is a human life worth only a year of prison [each]? Such punishments for such cruel crimes don’t lead to reconciliation in this country,” Meskovic said.

He also pointed out that only a small number of people had been prosecuted for a large-scale crime, pointing his finger at Prijedor police and all the others who participated in the transport of the victims to their deaths.

Victims’ families are still looking for 80 per cent of skeletal remains of their relatives, as the bodies of the killed camp detainees were transferred and buried at other locations.

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