More than 15.000 euros is the price Fikret Bacic had to pay to find out where is the location of the bodies of his children and other family members, who were killed by members of the Republika Srpska (RS) Army 30 years ago in Prijedor, northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
In July 1992, Fikret lost 31 family members. Among the victims are his two children and his wife and mother, who were shot in front of the family home in the Prijedor village of Zecovi, after which their bodies were taken in an unknown direction.
In an interview with Radio Free Europe (RFE), he recalled meeting with an “informant”, ie a mediator who claimed that for “a thousand marks (500 euros) per person” he could help him find the location of the bodies.
“He personally asked me to give a thousand marks ‘per head’ for information about 31 people. He was allegedly sent to tell me that there is a person who is asking for that money,” he noted.
Fikret did not have the money that was asked of him and to this day he is looking for 29 family members, including his 12-year-old son and six-year-old daughter.
He did not want to reveal the identity of the person who asked for the award in exchange for their bodies and points out that he informed the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA), the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, and the BiH Institute for Missing Persons (INO) on this event.
“If I had that money, I would have given it. The informant told me: ‘When it is exhumed, then you will pay.’ But neither I nor my family had that amount, so everything remained unresolved. The competent institutions know that nothing has been undertaken, “ he stated.
3.176 people, including 102 children, were killed in crimes in Prijedor and surrounding towns. About 30.000 non-Serbs from Prijedor passed through the Trnopolje, Omarska, and Keraterm camps. The remains of about 600 killed have not yet been found.
“Everyone in Prijedor knows who has the information, and thoseare people who were in the crisis staffs in the 1990s. Of course, some neighbors know, but their mouths are kept closed becauseof fear because they are afraid of the consequences if they speak,” Fikret pointed out.
According to official data, about 25.000 victims of the war from 1992 to 1995 have been found and identified in BiH, and about 1.000 mass and individual graves have been discovered. But 27 years after the end of the conflict, more than 7.620 people are still being searched for.
INO BiH has been warning for years that there is less and less relevant information and that the possibilities for finding the missing are being exhausted.
BiH currently has no regulations that would allow the institutions in charge of searching for the missing to “reward” people who provide information about the sites where the remains are.
However, the INO claims that the money for these purposes exists and that it will be operational after the appropriate regulations are adopted.
The Institute claims that the money will be available after, in cooperation with the SIPA, it drafts a new rulebook that will define all the details and criteria.
“After that, we will publicly announce the existence of that money in the hope that a certain number of people will apply to provide us with information about the locations of the graves. These funds will be operational very soon after the agreement with SIPA,” he said, RSE writes.