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20 July 2016
News

Eight Bosnian War Victims Buried in Prijedor

Dzana Brkanic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
Hundreds of local residents paid their respects in Kozarac near Prijedor as the remains of eight people killed by Bosnian Serb forces during wartime were laid to rest over 20 years after they died.
Hundreds of mourners joined a Muslim religious ceremony for the burial of the eight victims in Kozarac on Wednesday.

Jasmin Meskovic, the president of the Association of Detainees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, told BIRN that the burial will be the first of several upcoming commemorations to pay respect to thousands of non-Serbs who were killed in the Prijedor area during the war.

“Specifically, the anniversary of crime against detainees at Keraterm [prison camp] is marked on July 24, the anniversary of the shooting of 123 detainees at Hrastova Glavica is marked on August 5, the anniversary of the Omarska detention camp is marked the day after, while the anniversary of the crime at Koricanske Stijene [where some 200 Bosniaks and Croats were killed in 1992] is marked on August 21,” said Meskovic.

About 3,000 Bosniaks and Croats from Prijedor were killed during the war after Serb forces took control of the town at the beginning of April 1992.

Thousands were held captive in the Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje detention camps, where many were abused, tortured and kept in inhumane conditions.

The Institute for the Missing Persons of Bosnia and Herzegovina said that the remains of 2,325 Bosniak and Croat victims who were killed in 1992 have so far been found in the Prijedor area and identified.

“The Prijedor victims have been found in 98 mass graves,” said the institute’s spokesperson Lejla Cengic.

Cengic said that the remains of children who were killed in Prijedor have also been found.

“There are 102 of them. The search for 40 more children is still underway. The youngest victim, Velid Softic, was two months old. His remains have still not been found. The remains of 12 children from the Bacic family, aged between three and 17 years, have not been found either,” she said.

The Bosnian state court and the Hague Tribunal have sentenced 36 people to a total of 582 years in prison for wartime crimes in Prijedor.

The longest sentence given to Milomir Stakic, the wartime head of the municipality, who was jailed for 40 years for his role in the ethnic cleansing of the town and the establishment of the detention camps.
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