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30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BILJANI MASSACRE

     The Association for Social Research and Communication (UDIK) reminds the public of the 30th anniversary of the war crime in the village of Biljani in the region of Ključ.

The attack on the village of Biljani started in the early morning hours of July 10, 1992, and was led by the 17th Light Infantry Brigade of the Serbian Army in co-operation with the police officers of the Sanica Police Department. In this village Serbian forces executed about 260 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.

The victims of the Biljani massacre were found in mass graves immediately after the war, in late 1995 and during 1996. According to the Institute for Missing Persons of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the first mass grave called “Crvena zemlja I” was discovered in November 1995, from which sixteen victims were exhumed. A year later, an exhumation was carried out from the “Crvena zemlja II” mass grave, where sixteen victims were also found. The largest mass grave was “Lanište I”, from which 188 victims were exhumed in the period from October 5 to November 15, 1996. In the years that followed, bodies were regularly found in small and individual graves, in forests, or in abandoned and destroyed buildings. In the area of Biljani, 34 individual graves were found, from which 34 bodies were exhumed.

In 2020, UDIK promoted the publication War Crime in Biljani, Case: Marko Samardžija. This publication documented the trial of the commander of the 3rd Company of the Sanica Battalion within the 17th Light Infantry Brigade before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Court determined that Samardžija assisted in the commission of crimes against humanity. As a result, on November 3, 2006, the Trial Panel of the State Court found Samardžija guilty of crimes against humanity (murder) and sentenced him to 26 years’ imprisonment. Two years later, the Appellate Panel of the State Court found Marko Samardžija guilty of imprisonment and severe deprivation of liberty, and sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment.

The Biljani massacre is one of the most horrific war crimes committed in the Bosnian Krajina. In June and July 1992, the majority of the Bosniak population was killed, and houses and religious buildings were set on fire. After killing civilians, the perpetrators threw their bodies into distant and hidden mass graves, with the aim of never finding them.

Although most of the bodies of the victims of this massacre have been found and the context of the events has been revealed thanks to the testimonies of the survivors, Samardžija still remains the only one convicted for this war crime. Therefore, we appeal to the competent institutions not to forget the victims of this war crime and to engage in finding and prosecuting the perpetrators of this massacre. That is the only way to satisfy justice and establish lasting peace in this area.

The Association for Social Research and Communication (UDIK) reminds the public of the 30th anniversary of the war crime in the village of Biljani in the region of Ključ.

The attack on the village of Biljani started in the early morning hours of July 10, 1992, and was led by the 17th Light Infantry Brigade of the Serbian Army in co-operation with the police officers of the Sanica Police Department. In this village Serbian forces executed about 260 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.

The victims of the Biljani massacre were found in mass graves immediately after the war, in late 1995 and during 1996. According to the Institute for Missing Persons of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the first mass grave called “Crvena zemlja I” was discovered in November 1995, from which sixteen victims were exhumed. A year later, an exhumation was carried out from the “Crvena zemlja II” mass grave, where sixteen victims were also found. The largest mass grave was “Lanište I”, from which 188 victims were exhumed in the period from October 5 to November 15, 1996. In the years that followed, bodies were regularly found in small and individual graves, in forests, or in abandoned and destroyed buildings. In the area of Biljani, 34 individual graves were found, from which 34 bodies were exhumed.

In 2020, UDIK promoted the publication War Crime in Biljani, Case: Marko Samardžija. This publication documented the trial of the commander of the 3rd Company of the Sanica Battalion within the 17th Light Infantry Brigade before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Court determined that Samardžija assisted in the commission of crimes against humanity. As a result, on November 3, 2006, the Trial Panel of the State Court found Samardžija guilty of crimes against humanity (murder) and sentenced him to 26 years’ imprisonment. Two years later, the Appellate Panel of the State Court found Marko Samardžija guilty of imprisonment and severe deprivation of liberty, and sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment.

The Biljani massacre is one of the most horrific war crimes committed in the Bosnian Krajina. In June and July 1992, the majority of the Bosniak population was killed, and houses and religious buildings were set on fire. After killing civilians, the perpetrators threw their bodies into distant and hidden mass graves, with the aim of never finding them.

Although most of the bodies of the victims of this massacre have been found and the context of the events has been revealed thanks to the testimonies of the survivors, Samardžija still remains the only one convicted for this war crime. Therefore, we appeal to the competent institutions not to forget the victims of this war crime and to engage in finding and prosecuting the perpetrators of this massacre. That is the only way to satisfy justice and establish lasting peace in this area.

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