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Series 8: Do not forget
GENOCIDE IN NEVESINJE
Due to historic turmoil and under the influence of great powers, also under the influence of continuous crimes against Bosniacs, for which no one was held responsible, ethnic picture of Nevesinje was drastically changed to the detriment of Bosniacs. According to 1991 census, Nevesinje counted 14,448 residents, of which 10,711 (74%) were Serbs, 3,313 (22.95%) Muslims (Bosniacs), 210 (1.46%) Croats, and 214 (1.47%) Others.
At the first multi party elections, in 1990, Serb movement of restoration won in Nevesinje and won 17 out of 40 seats in municipal parliament. After that, the priest Karan declared Arsen Grahovac the Chetnic Duke in the Serb Orthodox Church, which proves a deep involvement of Serb Orthodox Church in unmemorable crime of genocide that followed. As a result of this act, the detachment Karađorđe was established and the first barricades were organized in Bišina. After the arrival of Radovan Karadžić and Vojislav Šešelj, Serb Democratic Party took over the power in Nevesinje, and in April 1991, they expelled all Bosniacs and Croats from the municipal parliament. As such, municipal parliament made a decision to join Nevesinje to the so-called Serb Autonomous Province Herzegovina.
On 19 September 1991, reserve military troops from Serbia and Montenegro entered Nevesinje, which resulted in euphoria and delight among Serb population. This was immediately followed by shooting against Bosniac houses, while numerous shops, residential and religious facilities were mined.
They made first arrests on 5 May 1992, and the most prominent Bosniacs were taken for interrogation, which was a clear signal to other Nevesinje residents that they should seek temporary refuge in the villages of Gornje polje. On 14 June 1992, at dawn, Nevesinje Serbs, supported by JNA, reserve troops and other units attacked the village of Žulja, which was the beginning of the most brutal attack against the Nevesinje Bosniacs. On 16 June 1992, they committed a slaughter in the village of Čanje, which was followed by massive murders and arrests in Nevesinje. On 22 June 1992, they attacked remaining Bosniac and Croat villages.
Surviving residents tried for days, without food or water, to reach free Mostar territory going across the bewilderedness of the mountain Velež and Podvelež plateau, while other groups tried to reach Bjelimići and then Konjic going over the mountain Crvanj. The exhausted elderly population could not join these escaping residents, and they were all brutally ill-treated, and then slaughtered. A group of 86 residents from Kljun, Presjeka, and Žiljevi had the same destiny. After five days of their wandering through the mountains, criminal captured them in the area of Jasenov do, took them to the elementary school in Zijemlje, tortured the for hours, and then killed them and threw their bodies in pits.
The fact that 301 Bosniac (or 9.1%) and 12 Croats (or 5.7%) were killed is a proof that the crime of genocide was committed in Nevesinje in the period of June and July 1992. there were 26 children among the killed individuals, some of who did not even have their names, as they were born while their parents tried to escape. After the persecution from Nevesinje, other 42 civilians were killed there too, so that the total number of killed amounted to 343 (or 10.35%) civilians. Numerous Bosniacs were killed in Nevesinje, after they were brought there from other places of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The mere number of the killed is overpowered by the brutality of crimes, given that the Nevesinje Bosniacs were killed in various places and in various ways, regardless of their gender or age. The youngest victim was only seven days old, and the oldest victim was 92 years old. Genocide victims were killed, slaughtered, burnt alive, thrown in pits, mutilated for days, tortured, their pieces of body were cut of like ears or eyes plucked out, they were buried alive, publicly severed to pieces, thrown to wells...
Almost all the captured women and girls were raped, and a large number of Nevesinje Bosniacs was in camps, organized in the Ministry of Interior, Tool factory, Officers mess, Heating central switchboard, Borak, Kalinovik, Morinja, elementary schools in Pridvorci, Luka, and Zijemlje.
Of the total number of Bosniac genocide victims, 171 mortal remains were exhumed, while 130 of the mare still unaccounted for, including four Croats. Mortal remains were found in the pits in Dubrave, Lipovača, Doline-Kušići, Borisavac, Bišina, mass graves at Teleća Lastva – Velež mountain, Miljevac, Krstače – Crna Gora mountain, Srednja Voda, Štedim – Crvanj mountain, Kiser – lake Boračko, etc.
All the residential and religious facilities were burnt in Nevesinje, some of which were under the UNESCO protection, being world cultural heritage.