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Series 5: Do not forget
GENOCIDE IN BRCKO
Brčko is one of the municipalities where the gravest forms of crimes were committed during the Serbian-Montenegrin aggression against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yugoslav National Army and Yugoslav Army, along with the Serb armed units from FRY (Serbia and Montenegro) and Bosnia and Herzegovina committed those crimes. In this joint criminal enterprise, numerous planned and well organized crimes were committed calculated to bring about the destruction of Bosniacs, national, ethnic, and religious group as such.
Brčko municipality is situated in the far east of Bosanska posavina, in the northeastern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It extends along the right bank of the river Sava and covers 493.3 square kilometers. According to 1991 census, Brčko had 87,627 residents. Of the total number of population, Muslims (Bosniacs) were 38,617 (44.06%); Croats 22,252 (25.39%); Serbs 18,128 (20.68%); Yugoslavs 5,731 (6.54%), and Others 2,899 (3.33%). Brčko town was populated with 41,406 resident of which Bosniacs were 22,994 (55.53%); Serbs 8,253 (19.93%), Croats 2,894 (6.98%), Yugoslavs 5,211 (12.58%), and Others 2,054 (4.98%).
The gravest crimes were continuously committed there: psychological and physical ill treatment, beating, mutilation, rapes, and the most brutal murders. In addition to massive and individual killing, torture and plundering, number of rapes has to be mentioned as the most heinous act. According to some assessments, around 500 young girls, girls, and women were raped in Brčko. They were raped in several locations, including coffee shop Westfalia, hotel Galeb, bar in the Cultural center, and cinema hall Oslobođenje.
Massive murders, as the gravest form of crimes against humanity and international law were continuously committed in Brčko concentration camps, especially camp Luka /Port/, where thousands of Bosniacs were detained. The conditions and the treatment, the camp inmates were subjected to, were terrible and they included regular murders, beating, and rapes. According to available information, around 3,000 people were killed, whereas ass according to the Report of the UN Expert Commission for the Research of Violations of International Humanitarian law “more than 2,000 men were killed“ in the camp Luka and “thrown to the river Sava“.
One of the proofs of the genocidal politics and practice directed against Bosniacs was also mining of the mosques in Brčko, during the 1992 summer, and forcible transfer of the remaining Bosniacs.
ICTY charged Slobodan Milošević, Vojislav Šešelj, Radovan Karadžić, Biljana Plavšić, Momčilo Krajišnik, Goran Jelisić, and Ranko Češić with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed in Brčko. ICTY sentenced Goran Jelisić to a prison term of 40 years, Ranko Češić to a prison term of 18 years, Momčilo Krajišnik to a prison term of 27 years (Appeals Chamber reduced the sentence to 20 years), and Biljana Plavšić to a prison term of 11 years. They were all acquitted of genocide and they were found guilty of crimes against humanity, despite the fact that they had intention to partially destroy national groups of Bosniacs and Croats. In other words, Jelisić and Češić committed numerous murders of prisoners with the genocidal intent.
In addition to them, Basic Court in Brčko District sentenced Kosta Kostić to a prison term of 15 years on the charge of rape and murder of Bosniacs during 1992 in Brčko. On 18 October 2005, this Court sentenced Konstantin Simonović to prison term of six years on the charge of War Crimes against Civilians. Time spent in custody, which commenced on 29 December 2004, was credited towards his sentence. His punishment was this low as Simonović pleaded guilty as charged. Moreover, Basic Court in Brčko District delivered Trial Judgments and sentenced Fikret Hasanović and Pepo Pavić to a prison term of six years respectively on the charge of War Crimes against Civilians.