Veterans and families of victims mark 27th anniversary of Grabovica massacre

NEWS 09.09.2020 15:35
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Source: Fena

Bosnian Croat officials, religious leaders, veterans and family members of victims marked the 27th anniversary of the massacre in the southern village of Grabovica, which left 33 locals dead.

Those who gathered at the monument for the victims in Grabovica laid wreaths and marched toward the local graveyard where a Holy Mass was organised for the civilians who lost their lives in the massacre.

The crime occurred during the Bosniak-Croat conflict in September 1993, when Bosnian Army members entered the village as part of a military operation and killed 33 civilians including a 4-year-old girl and 87-year-old man.

The families are still searching for the remains of 17 victims.

According to the head of the ‘Grabovica 93’ victims association, Josip Dreznjak, there is still no news regarding the location of the rest of the remains. He said the massacre is still a crime that was not punished accordingly.

“Out of 33 killed civilians, we have only two complete bodies, and when it comes to the rest of the victims, we would organise a funeral even if DNA analysis would confirm their identity based on just one bone,” he said.

“The very fact that we had to look for the bodies of those killed all over the place speaks of what kind of crime this was,” he added.

The international court for war crimes in former Yugoslavia, the Hague-based ICTY, had charged wartime Bosnian Army senior officer Sefer Halilovic with the Grabovica crimes on grounds of superior criminal responsibility, after finding that the Bosnian Army forces were sent to Grabovica following his order.

The court determined, however, that the murders in Grabovica were considered crimes but that Halilovic had no command authority and could not be considered responsible.

The prosecution appealed the ruling but the court confirmed the acquittal verdict two years later.

In 2008, the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed three verdicts of local courts sentencing three Bosnian Army soldiers Nihad Vlahovljak, Sead Karagic and Haris Rajkic of the Grabovica crimes. It determined that Vlahovljak ordered the executions while the other two carried out the order.