In the Pionirska Street Fire, on 14 June 1992, a group of Bosniak civilians were locked en masse in the house of Adem Omeragić in Višegrad. The house was set ablaze and the occupants were left to burn to death. About 70 Bosniak women, children and elderly men, most of them from the village of Koritnik, were confined in a house in Pionirska Street by cousins Milan and Sredoje Lukić, leaders of the paramilitary unit called Avengers. The youngest victim was two days old.
A similar scenario happened on June 27, when approximately 70 Bosniak civilians were forced into one room in the house of Meho Aljić in the settlement of Bikavac, near Višegrad. After the captives were robbed, the house was set on fire and the occupants were burned alive. According to the testimony of Zehra Turjačanin, there were many children in the house, the youngest less than one year old. Such crimes were repeated at several other locations in Višegrad.
For war crimes in Višegrad the ICTY sentenced Milan Lukić to life imprisonment and Sredoje Lukić to 27 years in prison. The Hague Tribunal has proved that one of the most monstrous campaigns of ethnic cleansing was conducted in Višegrad during the war against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A few years ago, UDIK presented the publication War crimes in Višegrad – verdicts. The publication included nine convictions for war crimes committed in Višegrad, issued by the State Court and the Supreme Court of the Federation. They were sentenced Boban Šimšić, Dragan Šekarić, Miloš Pantelić, Momir Savić, Nenad Tanasković, Novo Rajak, Oliver Krsmanović, Predrag Milisavljević, Vitomir Racković and Željko Lelek. In March 2020, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina sentenced Radomir Šušnjar to 20 years in prison.
Pionirska, Bikavac, Uzamnica and Vilina Vlas tell us about the nature of the crimes in the Višegrad area. The systematic crime of extermination of the non-Serb population can be seen and felt today in the mono-ethnic structure of the city’s population, monuments to the Chetniks, Draža Mihailović and Russian volunteers, and the Vilina Vlas Hotel as a proud tourist offer of the Republika Srpska.
On this day, we remember all the victims in Višegrad, but we also appeal to the citizens of Višegrad to speak the truth and say where the remains of the victims of the Pionirska Street and Bikavac Fire are, so that their families can finally bury them.