17 11 2019
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THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE BILJANI MASSACRE

     Association for Social Research and Communication (UDIK) reminds the public that war crime in the village of Biljani in the region of Ključ have occurred on this day 27 years ago.

The attack on the village of Biljani started in the early morning hours of July 10, 1992, and was led by the 17th Infantry Brigade of the Serbian Army in co-operation with the reserve and active police officers of the Police Department. In this village Serbian forces executed 264 men, women, children and elderly Bosniaks. The oldest victim was 85 years old Bećo Ćehić, while the youngest victim was a four months baby Amila Džaferagić, who died in a pit together with her mother.

At the sites of the mass graves of Lanište I and II, Crvena Zemlja, and Biljani, 220 bodies were identified, while 30 were not identified yet. The Bosniaks from the hamlets of Donji Biljani, Brkići, Osmanovići, Domazeti, Džaferagići, Čehići, Mešani and Jabukovci were identified, and in the years that followed, bodies were found regularly in smaller and individual graves, in forests or abandoned and burnt buildings.

On this occasion, UDIK’s Coordinator Edvin Kanka Ćudić said: „Ključ was the place of horrendous crimes committed during the war against Bosnia and Herzegovina. From May to September 1992, 612 Bosniaks and Croats were killed in the region of Ključ. The fact that 563 bodies were found in the mass graves of Lanište I, Lanište II, Crvena Zemlja and the other 13, and that more than 1,200 people from Ključ went through the war camps of Manjača and Kamenica, gives us the right to speak about the region of Ključ as a huge battlefield of Bosanska Krajina.”

By the end of 1992, nearly 17,000 non-Serbs from Ključ were forced to leave the municipality. In the area of Ključ municipality, beside Biljani, horrendous crimes of civilian population were also committed in Velagići, Prhovo, Krasulje and Ramići villages.

Marko Samardžija was found guilty of ordering, in his capacity as commander of the 3rd company of the Sanica battalion, a systematic attack on July 10, 1992 against Muslim civilians in the region of Ključ.  On November 3, 2006, Marko Samardžija was therefore sentenced to 26 years imprisonment. On May 25, 2007 the Appeals Chamber partially upheld the appeals of the indictee and his attorney, and rendered a decision revoking the first instance verdict. On October 23, 2008, Samardžija was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for crimes against humanity in Biljani village, Ključ municipality.

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