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Brčko – bc001ea

I give the following
S T A T E M E N T

"We will tempt you a little with fear
and starvation, and with your loss of properties, lives and harvests.
And you gladden the persevering ones."
The
main goal of the occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina by Serbia, Montenegro
and Bosnian exponents of the Serbian Democratic Party policies was the
ethnic cleansing of the territory of the so-called Serbian Republic of
Bosnia-Herzegovina, division of Bosnia-Herzegovina in three ethnic
regions and annexation of the Serbian region to Serbia proper as to
create Greater Serbia within the former Yugoslavia. This political goal
has been realized by the genocide over the Muslim and Croatian peoples
in the following manner:
a) by physical destruction of Muslim and Croatian civilians;
b) by destruction of the cultural, spiritual and material evidence of
their historical existence in these regions;
c) by destruction of the ethnic elements (Muslims) by forcible
conversion to Christianity (Orthodoxy) and mass rapes of girls and
women.
Forms
in which genocide has been realized had to be so horrific in their
extent and manner of execution as to produce lasting hatred towards
Serbian nation in general, which would consequently prevent any common
life on the Bosnia-Herzegovina soil in the long term. This would
question transcedent unity of multiconfessional, multicultural and
multinational Bosnian community, acquired during the long years of
common existence, where Bosnian social and political subject existed
(at least potentially) in the form of dialogos (dialogue and cultural,
confessional and national interaction) and not logos. This would also
destroy Bosnia-Herzegovina as a political community by scattering it in
isolated fragments lacking any possibility to communicate.
Such
an ethnic cleansing could be realized only by reviving of Serbian
collective frustrations, by reviving of Serbian mythology as to start a
wave of Serbian neobarbarism which would in the name of threatened
Serbian nation commit such unimaginable atrocities. The realization of
the ethnic cleansing policy is displayed paradigmatically in the Brčko
county.
 
THE BRČKO COUNTY
The
Brčko county lies in Northeastern Bosnia, on the river Sava which
connects it to a Croatian village of Gunj. Prior to war 87,332 citizens
lived there, out of which 26 percent Croats, 20 percent Serbs, 45
percent Muslims and 9 percent others, while in the city there were
41,426 citizens out of which 6.98 percent Croats, 20.28 percent Serbs,
55.57 Muslims and 17.13 percent others. When taken into consideration
that the largest number of "others" are Muslims-Bosniacs, then Brčko
must be looked upon as a county with absolute Muslim majority,
especially urban populus.
Today,
Brčko has become a symbol of suffering of Muslim civilians, mass
executed in this war so that the very existence of this ancient
European nation of Islamic persuasion is questioned in this region.
This
county has misfortune to be located on a "Greater Serbia corridor" that
was supposed to secure territorial integrity of the so-called Serbian
Republics on the soil of the former Yugoslavia by the road which leads
from Serbia via Bijeljina-Brčko-Lončar towards Krajinas, and was
predestined to become a Serbian county by ethnic cleansing (genocide).
Alike
most of Bosnian-Herzegovinian towns, Brčko has met with the war
unprepared. Muslim Merhamet and long lasting drill to the role of a
second rate citizen made majority Muslim populus and Croats
(predominately village populus) unprepared and unarmed for the war,
unlike the Brčko Serbs who were armed by the Serbian Democratic Party
and the former YU-Army. The intention was to solve the dispute by
political negotiations and cessions about division of the county on
Serbian, Croatian and Muslim parts even though this division was
obviously unjust. This was a mere delusion which was to be dearly paid
later because it created false hope in preservation of peace.
An
introduction to the war was the destruction of the Sava Bridge. In the
early morning hours, on April 30, 1992, there were two blasts which
caused all the city windows shatter. On this occasion 60 people were on
the bridge and were consequently killed. Parts of bodies lied scattered
on the nearby streets. By destruction of the Sava bridges the road and
railway connection with neighboring Republic of Croatia was broken.
The
occupation of the city followed on May 1. Serbian special units led by
Arkan and Šešelj together with local Chetniks used the alleged security
of peace in the city by the YU-Army to occupy all significant objects:
post-office, Radio and Television Station, etc…
That
same evening and on May 2, the members of the Serbian Democratic Party
provoked the conflict on the border of predominately Serb populated
Gračić and predominately Muslim populated Dizdaruša districts as to
provide cause for an attack on the Muslim urban housing projects and
mass arrival of Arkan’s and Šešelj’s units and other Chetnik units from
Bijeljina and Serbia.
Muslims
and Croats fled the city and suburban housing projects in panic. They
escaped to neighboring Muslim and Croatian villages: Palanka, Brka,
Gornji Rahić, Zovik, Maoca. Approximately 20 000 refugees on the top of
another 30 000 villagers live in this small area lacking any adequate
living conditions and communication with the outer world.
Unfortunately, large number of Muslims who did not realize what was
going on until it was too late remained in the occupied city, left to
the mercy of the Chetniks.
Although
the city did not resist the occupation, in the suburban housing
projects Klanac, Dizdaruša, Broduša, 4. Jul, Merajem, Mujkići,
Gluhakovac, with predominately Muslim population, people organize
resistance and stop the Chetnik attack.
In
the occupied city civilian populus has been terrorized. The sole fact
that over 5000 innocent civilians (7000 according to some estimates)
were brutally murdered in the Serbian concentration camps in Brčko,
Luka, sports hall Partisan, Laser, behind Posavina Hotel, the police
station near the Brka River, and in urban housing projects Kolobari,
Merajem and Mujkići, that all Muslim housing projects were pillaged and
burnt down, that three city mosques were razed with the ground, that
the most of the other mosques have been destroyed by air and artillery
projectiles, that city cemeteries were ploughed over, all this tells of
a policy of genocide that has been carried out in the heart of Europe
at the end of the 20th century, and witnessed by the so-called
civilized world.
ETHNIC CLEANSING
a) Physical Liquidation
Process
of ethnic cleansing in Brčko commences on May 2, 1992, with arrival of
Serbian special units, Arkan’s and Šešelj’s units. In these first
couple of days several hundreds of innocent civilians were killed in
the following locations: in the local police station, behind Posavina
Hotel, in the town’s trades center and near the Brka river.
Furthermore, people were taken from their houses and killed on their
own threshold, yard or on a street. Those Serbs who did not assent to
those crimes were executed without any mercy. There are many examples
how Brčko Serbs were forced to kill their Muslim neighbors in order to
preserve their own lives.
By
this creation of ethnic enmity among nations who have coexisted
peacefully for centuries was commenced the process of destruction of
Bosnian integrity in Brčko area.
After
the occupation of the town’s core on May 3, the aggression on Muslim
urban housing projects continued. After Arkan’s unit, Šešelj’s unit,
"Beli Orlovi" (White Eagles) and local Chetniks occupied the Kolobara,
Meraja and Mujkići urban projects, over 600 Muslim civilians were
killed in the basements of their houses. Those who survived were
forcibly taken to nearby mosques (Wooden Mosque near the local clinic,
and White Mosque) where they were maltreated, tortured, forced to
commit all sorts of perverse things and killed. Then the survivors
would be deported to specially designed camps.
Deeply
moving is the story of a father and son from Mujkići who awaited death
holding hands, or the story of a mother who begged Chetniks not to
murder her five children. They killed them, nevertheless.
People
were taken to the premises of the Brčko police station in order to give
their identities, be beaten or killed. Shocking are the statements of
the people who were taken there. This is how one of them, N. S.,
described the interrogation: "While going to the room nr. 4, I heard K.
Sead screaming. They stuck a small axe inbetween his shoulder joints.
At the same time, a detained Hasan J. attempted to escape. However,
Chetniks caught him on the footpath between the butchery and the TURIS
Agency and killed him with a machine-gun burst. In the same moment I
heard a shot on the third story of the police station building, and
then two guys carried the dead body of Amir N. nicknamed F. to the
second story. They ordered me and other two detainees to carry him in
front of Radnik movie theater. While I carried Amir, I noticed a bullet
hole in his occiput. Later I found out that he was killed by Goran
Jelišić. We threw Hasan J. directly in a meat reefer, and we left Sead
K. and Amir N. in front of Radnik movie theater. Chetniks used this
reefer to drive the executed civilians in an unknown direction.
While
I was cleaning the road in front of the police station and Craftsmen’
Center, I saw when they took Ahmet nicknamed P. and another fair haired
fellow whose name I do not know to a garbage container and killed him
there. At the same spot they killed an Ajša’s brother and another
fellow whom I could not recognize from behind. Then they killed all of
those who cleaned the street with me, and whose names I do not know
either. All this happened on May 7. I loaded all of those bodies on a
"Bimeks" reefer. Goran Jelišić told me that I was to be the last one
since I was strong enough to load bodies on the reefer."
During
these days a systematical obliteration of Muslim and Croatian populus
in the Brčko county was carried out in specially designed camps. The
most notorious among them was Luka concentration camp.
LUKA
In
the former water communication facility, located on the bank of the
Sava river, the mass liquidations of Muslims and Croats were carried
out. Some 3,000 civilians were killed in this facility. The camp
prisoners slept on paper sheets, without blankets. Upon their return
from the front lines, Chetniks would commit mass tortures of prisoners.
The walls of the storehouse where they were kept were splattered with
the prisoners’ blood.
During
nighttime groups of 100 people were taken away. They would disappear
without trace. People were killed in extremely brutal manners. For
example, a torturer would place a gun barrel in a victim’s mouth and
pull a trigger. People were also executed by a firing squad, they would
line up ten people and kill them with a single machine-gun burst.
Container truck would drive away the bodies. From May 5 to May 25 over
1,500 people were killed. Mass executions started around 7:00 p.m. and
lasted all night through.
The
following day, June 12 (the great Muslim holiday Kurban Bairam) was the
Muslims’ bloodbath. On that day Muslims were slain in large numbers.
Chetniks laughed and said that slain people were Kurbans. According to
an imprisoned Chetnik’ statement, he himself killed over 100 people in
Luka in such a manner that he pierced their temples with a knife or
crashed their skulls with a hammer.
One
of the main commanding officers in Luka was Goran Jelišić nicknamed
Adolf, who claimed that he killed 175 Muslims and that he was going to
kill another 25 as to reach the figure of 200, then Ranko Ćasić, Monika
Ilić (daughter of Bora and Vera the prostitute, who committed
unimaginable crimes; she tore out people’s entrails with a broken
bottle), Rajko Rajčić (who bragged that he had made a special knife to
slay Muslims with) and many other.
Sports Center PARTIZAN
In
the Sports Center PARTIZAN which is located in the town’s center,
liquidations of Muslim and Croatian civilians were carried out during
the first days of the town’s occupation. Civilians were brought to the
hall, separated and then lined up in front of the hall, then they were
tortured and killed. According to a prisoner’ statement there was so
much blood in front of the hall that it was impossible to stand and not
tread on it.
Men with many children were hit repeatedly between their legs, many of them were castrated.
A
particular kind of psychical torture was carried out too. The torturers
would pick out several people and tell them that they were going to be
executed after a determined period of time. They would even give them
cigarettes to have something to do while they were waiting. These
people became old men over night.
BATKOVIĆI
Batkovići
is a labor camp near Bijeljina. Over 1,000 Brčko citizens were detained
in it. Several tens of people were beaten to death. The statement of a
prisoner gives the best description of this camp: "All camp prisoners
were met by Chetniks lined up in two rows so that they had to pass
between them. While passing the prisoners were kicked all over their
bodies with boots, clubs, and poles thick as soda bottles. This method
of physical torture was repeated constantly during their time in the
camp, in the morning before going to labor, and in the evening upon
their return from labor.
Mostly
all Chetnik guards partook in battering and torturing prisoners and
especially notorious were Fikret Piklić (from Bijeljina surroundings)
and Džemal Zahirović called Spajzer. According to eye-witnesses’
statements, Spajzer killed three men by casting rocks at them, and he
broke another prisoner’s spine. A certain Zoran from Bijeljina area was
also notorious. He always wore a mask. Others perpetrators were Gligor
Žerić from Goražde area and Veselin Nikolikć from Bijeljina
surroundings.
b) CULTUROCIDE – destruction of cultural and sacral objects
Alike
the destruction of Brčko which began with a symbolic shelling of still
unfinished mosque in Rijeka housing project, systematic destruction of
spiritual and cultural objects belonging to Muslim and Croatian populus
of the Brčko county has been carried out during long months of war in
this area. The aspiration to devastate everything that may imply the
culture and spiritual life of another nation grew out of frustration of
the tribal consciousness of new barbarism which spread on the Balkans.
To kill, to destroy, to banish as to extend one’s own living space and
paranoically preserve "Sopstvo" (Serbianry) is the policy of the
Serbian national-socialism which will end in selfdestruction. In this
lunatic and paranoid wish to destroy other nations in Brčko, all of the
Muslim religious objects have been destroyed.
Thus,
on May 17, 1992, three town mosques were razed to the ground:
Savska-Atik džamija (Savska-Atik Mosque) over 250 years old, located
near the spot where the river Brka flows into the river Sava;
Bijela-Džedid džamija (White-Djedid Mosque) some 200 years old, after
leveling it they planted grass on the location; Hadžipašina džamija
(Hadjipasha’s Mosque) built in the 19th century, after leveling it they
turned the location into a parking space.
Heavily
damaged are the following mosques: Local Mosque in Begovača, entirely
destroyed in a systematic attack of the Chetnik artillery; Local Mosque
on Brod, heavily damaged by howitzer and tank projectiles; Local Mosque
in Dizdaruša, destroyed by tank and howitzer projectiles; still
unfinished Local Mosque in Rijeke, dome damaged by tank projectiles,
interior burnt down; Local Mosque in Gornji Rahić destroyed by a direct
hit of a air-to-surface missile; Local Mosque in Šatorovica damaged by
howitzer and tank projectiles.
Muslim cemeteries in Brčko have been desecrated and ploughed over. Today, they serve for entrenching the Chetnik artillery.
The
following religious objects have also been damaged: Local Catholic
Church in Zovik, damaged by air and artillery projectiles; Friary and
Art Gallery in Dubrave, damaged by tank projectiles; Local Catholic
Church in Gorice, built in 1912, almost entirely demolished; Local
Catholic Church in Poljaci, visibly damaged; Local Catholic Church in
Krepšić, built in 1978, heavily damaged.
c) Sexual Assault as a Form of Genocide
Taboo
subject, of which one seldom talks and writes, and which seems to be a
part of general tragedy is rape of predominately Muslim girls and
women. Massive scale of rape and manner of its realization implies the
systematic, foreplaned, politically motivated sexual abuse as a
separate type of genocide. By reviving the collective frustrations
derived from the Serbian mythology (Turkish complex and equalizing of
Bosnian Muslims with Turks) atavisms were woken up as a forceful motif
to the realization of the genocidal policy.
It
is well known that immediately after the town’s occupation a brothel
was opened in Vestfalija cafe, on the road towards Bijelo Polje, by
Vera Simeunović, a well known prostitute and mother of even more famous
Monika – the child monstrume – who partook in mass executions in Luka.
In this brothel, girls from Brčko were forcibly brought so that
Chetniks could abuse them there. One may say that this was not an
ordinary brothel, but a place that could be called the house of
horrors. In it Chetniks "calmed" their "evil blood", aroused by
Milošević-Karadžić politics, by engaging in orgies with young girls,
massacring their bodies, cutting off their breasts, forcing pointless
objects in their anuses and other perverse acts. It was not violence
for passion and sexual pleasure’s sake, but the need to abuse and
destroy in the most perverse manner in order to satisfy collective
enmity revived by Milošević’s ritual and political restoration of
mythological past. Most of these unfortunate girls were killed after
being savagely abused, in order to destroy any evidence of these morbid
crimes. The eye-witnesses still remember naked girls on the streets,
almost animal cries that could be heard from Vestfalija cafe.
Similar
forms of morbid sexual assaults occured in the Luka concentration camp.
Surviving girls testify of that, but also Chetniks imprisoned on the
front lines, who in their own words murdered people in Luka and
systematically raped Muslim girls and women. In Luka, females from 13
to 60 years of age were sexually abused. These were not classic
examples of rapes out of lust, but of a Greater Serbia devised need for
rape of a nation, and humiliation of its female sex. They seeked to
produce deep and lasting collective trauma due to the sensitiveness of
the Muslim family ethics towards this particular form of humiliation.
Members of Serbian special units, Arkan’s and Šešelj’s units, forced
Brčko Chetniks to rape Muslim girls and women. In this manner several
hundred Muslim females were raped.
Example
for a premeditated, politically motivated sexual abuse is a touching
story about 50 girls who were dragged out of the convoy of women,
children and elderly people in Caparde near Zvornik last June. This
convoy was intended for an exchange. According to the statements of
exchanged people, the officials found out that a group of unmarried
girls was separated and locked up in a furnishing store. A girl from
this group described what happened next: "It was getting dark, and
there was no electricity, so one of the guards lit a candle. Then the
Chetniks started taking out girls one by one. The girls were really
scared. They took them either in the nearby barracks, in the woods or
in some house. One of the Chetniks came up to me and said: ‘You, get up
and get out.’ We came to a barrack and entered. There was a bed. He
ordered me to take off my clothes. I cried and begged him not to do it.
He answered: ‘Do you want me to slit your throat this very minute?’"
Some
of these girls never recovered from the shock. They still have a dull,
hopeless look in their eyes. Many of them were kept there to the point
when it was impossible to abort if they had gotten pregnant. By this
collective trauma experienced by these girls, their families and
community as a whole was intentionally deepened.
There are many
cases of women being raped in front of their husbands, or daughters
being raped in front of their parents. Those cases prove the thesis
that rape has been used as a particular form of genocide. Galeb Hotel
was also used by Chetniks as a brothel, and everything that has been
happening there proved the afore stated facts.
One
of the victims explained the reasons for such a Chetniks’ behavior: "As
to reasons of such a behavior of Serbs, I think that they lie in their
genes. This may be concluded on the basis of their hatred towards
everything non-Serb and the atrocities that had been committed in Brčko
without any causes, or reason. For them there was no innocent or less
guilty Muslim. They were all found guilty and punished in the same
manner."
This
girl’s observation is generally correct, however the cause for such a
behavior are not genes but cultural codes of social conduct, recorded
in the collective memory and restored through mythology and rituals. In
a certain moment these codes instrumentalize in order to realize
current political goals. Therefore, the conduct of Chetniks, although
criminal and perverse, is a mere logical consequence of the Greater
Serbia policy and aspirations. The task of this policy was to create a
collective madness by reviving collective mythological frustrations as
to commit crimes against Muslims that would on the one side numerically
reduce this nation to a politically and culturally insignificant
factor, and on the other hand produce enmity that would make impossible
any further co-existence.
Fate
or something else decided for Bosnian and Herzegovinian Muslims to
repeat their tragic history. Each new generation must tread upon the
same path of suffering only because of their religious persuasion. The
horrors that this last generation has been faced with may threaten
further existence of this ancient European nation in these regions.
In Brčko, February 1993

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