News 22 Oct 12

Serbia Refuses to Give Reparations to Sjeverin Victims

Twenty years after 16 people were abducted and killed by Serbian paramilitaries, the families of the victims have still not received any reparations, as the state does not recognize them as civilian victims of war. 

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade

On October 22 in 1992, 16 Bosniaks from the village of Sjeverin in the Sandzak area of Serbia went to the town of Priboj, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Passing through Bosnia, they were attacked and abducted by a Serb paramilitary unit, the ‘Revengers’ [Osvetnici]. They were put into trucks and taken to the Bosnian town of Visegrad where they were tortured.

The villagers were shot close to the banks of the river Drina. Two years ago, the body of one of the victims, Medredin Hodzic, was found close by in lake Perucac, but the other 15 victims remain missing.

For this crime, a Serbian court sentenced the commander of the unit, Milan Lukic and three other paramilitaries, to total of 70 years in prison.

Lukic is currently being tried in front of the Hague Tribunal, ICTY, for persecution on religious and ethnic backgrounds, mass killings and torture.

Despite the fact that the murderers have been convicted, three families of the victims have still not received reparations from the Serbian state, as they are not recognized as victims of war.

Their reparation requests were rejected because, according to the Serbian state,  “the law allows reparations if the crimes were committed on Serbian territory, but that is not the case here. “

The families have stated that they will lodge a formal complaint, as they believe that the state will not pay up because they are non-Serbs, and is displaying double standards on this issue.

 

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