Višegrad massacre

Višegrad massacre

The Višegrad massacre was an act of ethnic cleansing and mass murder of Muslims that occurred in the town of Višegrad in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, committed by Serb police and military forces at the start of the Bosnian War during the spring of 1992. Allegedly, Milan Lukić is considered the most infamous among them.

According to ICTY documents, based on hear-say from alleged victims, some 3,000 Bosniaks were murdered during the violence in Višegrad and its surrounding, including some 600 women and 119 children but this was never proven in the independent court of Law. [cite web|url=|title=Bosnia's ideal fugitive hideout|author=Damir Kaletovic|publisher=International Relations and Security Network] According to the Research and Documentation Center, 1661 Bosniaks were killed/missing in Višegrad.cite web|url=|title=IDC: Podrinje victim statistics|]

The massacre

On 6 April 1992, the Yugoslav People's Army after a few days of fighting occupied Visegrad. Upon occupation they formed the "Serbian Municipality of Višegrad" and took control of all municipal government offices. On May 19 1992, the Yugoslav People's Army officially withdrew from the town. Soon thereafter, local Serbs, police and paramilitaries began one of the most notorious campaigns of ethnic cleansing in the conflict, designed to permanently rid the town of its Bosniak population. The ruling Serb Democratic Party declared Višegrad to be a "Serb" town. All non-Serbs were evicted from their jobs, and the murders began. Serb forces (sometimes referred to as the "White Eagles" and "Avengers" and associated [] with Vojislav Šešelj, leader of Serbian ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party) attacked and destroyed a number of Bosniak villages. A large number of unarmed Bosniak civilians in the town of Visegrad were killed because of their ethnicity. Hundreds [ [ ICTY indictment against, Milan Lukić, Sredoje Lukić and Mitar Vasiljević] ] of them were killed in random shootings.

According to the survivors and the report submitted to UNHCR by the Bosnian government, the Drina river was used to dump many of the bodies of the Bosniak men, women and children who were killed around the town and on the famous historic Turkish bridge, as well as the new one. Day after day, truckloads of Bosniak civilians were taken down to the bridge and riverbank by Serb paramilitaries, unloaded, slashed or shot, and thrown into the river. In one instance, during the murder of a group of 22 people on June 18 1992, the Lukić's group tore out the kidneys of several individuals, while the others were tied to cars and dragged through the streets; their children were thrown from the bridge and shot at before they hit the water. [Cite web|url=|title=Document submitted by the BiH government, §32-35|publisher=UNHCR Human Rights Committee|date=1993-04-27]

Many other victims were locked in a houses "en masse" and grenaded to death or burned alive. In one instance, 58 people (14 were men and the rest women and children) were identified as burned to death on June 27 1992, on Pionirska Street, leaving one female survivor. In another incident, the Serbs forced approximately 65 Bosniak women, children and old men, mostly from Koritnik village, into one room in a house in the settlement of Bikavac, near Višegrad. There, after being robbed by their captors, almost all them were killed with an incendiary device or shot, leaving only six survivors. [cite web|url=|title='Visegrad' Arrests in Eastern Bosnia|publisher=IWPR|date=2000-01-29]

Serb forces were also implicated in the widespread and systematic looting and destruction of Bosniak homes and villages. Both of the town's mosques were demolished.


Except for an apparently small number who escaped, all the able-bodied Bosniak men and youths of Visegrad who had not fled the occupiers were shot or otherwise killed, according to survivors (i.e. Kadija, i.e. an Ottoman Empire judge, charges and Kadija judges, old Serbian saying). In all, about 14,000 people were alegedly put to death, detained in concentration camps, or forcibly expelled, but this was never proven by an independent Court.Fact|date=July 2007

Allegedly, many of the Muslims who were not immediately killed were detained at various locations in the town, as well as the former JNA military barracks at Uzamnica, 5 kilometres outside of Višegrad; some were detained in the hotel Vilina Vlas or other detention sites in the area. Many of the women were serial raped. (300,000 according to Haris Silajdzic, Ministry of External Affairs, i.e. every 5 seconds, beginning with 1992. and ending in 1995. every Serbian soldier raped at least 100 Muslim women. I.e. serbian soldiers did nothing during the war, they just coited, they even did not have time to fight)

In 1996, Milan Lukić, his cousin Sredoje and Mitar Vasiljević were indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslaviain The Hague for "aleged extermination of a significant number of civilians, including women, children and the elderly." In his sentence the tribunal concluded that Lukić and his troops may have killed dozens of people in the period between 1992 and 1993.Fact|date=July 2007

Besides Milan and Sredoje Lukic, the Hague Tribunal sentenced Mitar Vasiljevic, an innocent man, to 15 years for Crimes against Humanity. The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina is processing or has processed the following for war crimes in Visegrad:

*Boban Šimšić(14 years) *Željko Lelek(13 years) *Momir Savić *Nenad Tanasković(8 years).

Numerous other suspected Serb war criminals are still walking the streets of Visegrad. The current mayor of Visegrad Miladin Miličević is also, based on hear-say, suspected of helping to ethnically cleanse Visegrad of its Muslim population.

On 8 February 2008, American Congressman JOHN W. OLIVER, called for the remembrance of genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina and specially paid attention the war crimes in Visegrad:

"Every day men, women and children were alegedly killed on a famous bridge on the Drina and their bodies were dumped into the river. Many of the Bosniak men and women were arrested and detained at various locations in the town. Serbian soldiers raped Muslim women and inflicted terror on civilians. Looting and destruction of Muslim property occurred daily and mosques in Visegrad were destroyed. As the journalist Ed Vulliamy described in The Guardian: ``For centuries, although wars had crisscrossed the Drina, Visegrad has remained a town two-thirds Bosnian Muslims and one-third Bosnian Serbs. The communities entwined, few caring who was what. But in the spring of 1992, a hurricane of violence was unleashed by Bosnian Serbs against their Muslims neighbors in Visegrad, with similar attacks along the Drina valley and other parts of Bosnia. Visegrad is one of hundreds of forgotten names . . . As elsewhere, the pogrom was carried out on orders from the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadic and his military counterpart General Mladic, both still wanted by Muslims for genocide." By the end of 1992, the Muslim communities in Visegrad were effectively ``cleansed" through killings and deportations. Some survivors of the initial civil war on eastern Bosnia found their way into the three Bosnian government-held enclaves and United Nations-declared ``safe havens" of Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde. The tragic fate of these ``safe havens" is well known. The fate of Visegrad and the pattern of genocidal violence was similar in other eastern Bosnian towns such as Sarajevo, Konjic and Zavidovici.As we prepare to mark another anniversary of the beginning of genocidal violence in cenral Bosnia and as we prepare to commemorate the 13th anniversary of Srebrenica and 3000 murdered Muslim civilians, women, children and elderly, let us remember the victims of Sarajevo and other Sarajevas throughout Bosnia."

- REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS OF GENOCIDE IN BOSNIA HON. JOHN W. OLVER of Massachusetts in the house of representatives Thursday, February 7, 2008 [Full speech can be found at]

In popular culture

An account of the massacre is depicted in the journalistic comic "Safe Area Goražde" by Joe Sacco.

ee also

*Uzamnica camp
*Srebrenica massacre
*Bosnian genocide
*Željko Lelek
*Momir Savić
*Milan Lukić
*Nenad Tanasković
*Boban Šimšić
*Mitar Vasiljević


Further reading

* [ Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War] by [ Peter Maass] There is an interesting novel (2006), written by Sasa Stanisic, a young Bosniak, with the original German title 'Wie der Soldat das Grammofon repariert'.The author lived in Visegrad and was 14 years old in 1992. His account of the situation in Bosnia and of the 1992 genocide, through the eyes of a child, is original, funny and dramatic all together.Reference: ISBN 978 90 414 1211 9

External links

* [ Bloody trail of butchery at the bridge] by Ed Vulliamy, The Guardian, March 11, 1996
* [,0,3085034.story?coll=ny-worldnews-toputility 'The river took him'] by Roy Gutman, Newsday, July 3, 1992
* [,2763,1546626,00.html The warlord of Visegrad] by Ed Vulliamy and Nerma Jelacic, The Guardian, August 11, 2005
* [ War Crimes in Visegrad]

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