News 11 Jan 13

Sarajevo to Build Monument to Serb War Dead

Officials have agreed to construct a memorial to Serbs killed by Bosnian Army troops while the capital was under siege in the 1990s.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

The monument to around 30 victims, mostly Serbs, killed in Sarajevo during 1992 and 1993 by a group of Bosnian Army soldiers, will be built in the Kazani area, up the hill from where their bodies were exhumed from the deep hole in which they were dumped by the killers.

After signing a contract on Thursday with the mayor of Sarajevo, Alija Behmen, to open a tender for the monument’s construction, the vice-president of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Svetozar Pudaric, said those who died deserved a memorial.

“A war crime was committed there, not a crime during the war, and we have the obligation to pay respect to that and to remember,” Pudaric said.

Behmen said that those responsible for the killings were a renegade group of soldiers from the Bosnian Army, which defended the city during the siege.

So far around 30 bodies have been exhumed from the hole at Kazani, most of them Serbs from Sarajevo and few Croats, but the final number of victims has not yet been determined nor all the bodies identified.

During and after the war, 14 people were found guilty of murders committed at Kazani but the case was never officially designated as a war crime.

The soldiers who carried out the killings were led by Musan Topalovic, alias Caco, the commander of the Tenth Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army.

Topalovic was killed in October 1993 and given a hero's burial in a cemetery alongside army officials and the first Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic.

However six other soldiers from the brigade were convicted over the killings and given jail sentences ranging from 10 months to six years.

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