Several hundred citizens and families of victims attended the commemoration at Koricanske Stijene, marking 20 years since the massacre of more than 200 Bosniaks from Prijedor.
|Koricanske Stijene Sign Photo by Justice Report|
The commemoration was held on Tuesday to remember more than 200 Bosniaks who were killed on Koricanske Stijene on Mount Vlasic after the Bosnian Serb police took them from a convoy which was travelling from Prijedor to Travnik on August 21, 1992.
Ervin Blazevic, the president of the “Optimist” association and a member of the organizing committee, told BIRN that the killings at Koricanske stijene were a “proof of the crime” which was committed against the non-Serb population in that municipality.
“Every year 250 roses are thrown into the abyss, but this year we added one more, to commemorate the recently deceased Sulejman Kahrimanovic, one of the 12 men who survived the massacre,”
“We wanted to commemorate him as a witness and thank him for the truth. We must cherish the truth, because today genocide is being done by negating, changing and rewriting the past,” said Blazevic.
Blazevic said that the remains of some of the missing people have still to be found, and that some of those responsible for the killings are still to be prosecuted. He asked all the remaining witnesses to come forward with their testimony.
“We are calling on all the witnesses to break their silence. We need their testimony, because witnesses are dying and the truth along with them, so those responsible are not being prosecuted,” said Blazevic.
Darko Mrdja, a former police officer from Prijedor, was sentenced in 2004 by the Hague Tribunal to 17 years for the killings at Koricanske stijene.
The Court of Bosnia and Hercegovina sentenced three members from the same unit as Mrdja, to a total of 34 years for taking part in the crime.
There are several ongoing cases concerning the killings before the court in Sarajevo.
A commemorative plaque was brought to this year’s event, which the organizers said they want to place on the site of the killing, but Blazevic says that the local authorities have refused permission on the grounds that there is no a state-wide law on memorials.
Blazevic explains there is nothing “controversial or offensive” on the plaque, merely facts. The sign reads: “On this place, members of the Prijedor police killed over 200 Prijedor citizens on August 21, 1992”.
“In my speech today I said that while travelling to this location, we saw numerous signs by the road. They were memorials to people killed in car accidents. These memorials were dedicated to a single victim, but we cannot put up a plaque for 200 victims. This is what hurts us most today and makes us fight for the truth,” said Blazevic.