News 06 Apr 16

Sarajevo Honours Victims on Siege Anniversary

People in the Bosnian capital commemorated the 24th anniversary of the start of the three-and-a-half-year siege, when they were encircled and attacked by Bosnian Serb forces from 1992 to 1995.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo
Sarajevo during the siege. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

Sarajevo residents marked 24 years on Wednesday since the start of the siege of the city by Bosnian Serb forces, which left more than 11,000 civilians dead during a campaign of shelling and sniper attacks.

The city was also liberated from occupation in World War II on the same date, and Bosniak politicians marked the occasion by laying wreaths at memorials to victims of both wars.

Sarajevo Mayor Ivo Komsic said that it proved that the city could defeat fascism.

“This date is extremely important for us morally - this is the day on which we beat fascism repeatedly,” said Komsic.

Sarajevo resident Selma Besovic told BIRN that she was 12 on April 6, 1992 when the siege, which lasted over 1,400 days, started.

Because of constant attacks from artillery and snipers, Besovic was moved to a building in the Socijalno neighborhood because it had a nuclear shelter, but was wounded in an attack on the night of April 30, 1993.

“I remember the warmth and seeing some blood. I was wounded in the stomach, but the bullet hit me in a way that it came close to the heart,” she recalled.

“I remember the panic… My mum, dad and brother… And all the time I kept saying: ‘What is wrong with you people, why are you panicking? I am fine. It just bruised me,’” she said.

She was then operated upon in the military hospital in Sarajevo and survived.

Mensur Jusic told BIRN that in the summer of 1994, he was wounded by a sniper’s bullet while travelling in a tram, on a day on which there was supposed to be a ceasefire.

“It was one of those days when Sarajevo was hit hard. I felt pain in my leg,” Jusic recalled.

“I saw another girl was wounded in the arm and armpit and a younger girl who had a child with her. I think they took the worst hit, since there was so much blood,” he added.

The Hague Tribunal has convicted two former generals from the Bosnian Serb Army’s Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, Stanislav Galic and Dragomir Milosevic, of waging a campaign of terror against civilians in the city.

According to the verdicts, for more than three-and-a-half years, Bosnian Serb forces indiscriminately killed and wounded thousands of civilians in a campaign designed to keep the population in a constant state of terror.

The Hague court also convicted former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic of wartime crimes in Sarajevo, finding that he used the campaign of terror as a “political tool”.

Among the total of over 11,000 people were killed in the Bosnian capital during the war, more than 1,000 were children.

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