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THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE BILJANI MASSACRE

     The Association for Social Research and Communication (UDIK) reminds the public that today is the 29th 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 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, Crvena Zemlja I and II, 220 bodies were exhumed. The killed 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. In the area of Biljani, 34 graves were found, from which 34 bodies were exhumed.

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 03, 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.

Last year, UDIK published a document entitled War Crimes in Biljani, Subject: Marko Samardžija. The book provides court material, an analysis of missing persons and mass graves in the area of Ključ, as well as a list of verified missing persons whose disappearance can be linked to the events of July 1992 in the village of Biljani.

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