At the end of July 1992, about 11,000 people emigrated from the then Bosanski Novi through Karlovac to Germany. Four people from the convoy on July 23rd, 1992 remember the journey into the unknown, but where there was no more fear.
Doctor Katmerka Ceric decided to leave Bosanski Novi, as the city in the far west of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was called before the war began, in the first organized convoy on July 16th, 1992.
Her father then received a written notice – a threat of expulsion from the apartment by the military police if he and his family did not leave it themselves, Ceric recalls. Until then, they had lived in that apartment for 30 years.
“And that, in fact, was the motive for my parents to leave, they all thought it would pass,” says Ceric.
Before leaving, she handed over the property she had to the municipal authorities, but she soon had to return to the apartment because the convoy was returned from the Croatian border. She recalls that they returned with fear to the apartment that was guarded by their neighbors.
“Foreigners, peacekeepers came before us, because we had no guarantee that we could pass through Croatia, and the municipalities in that territory did not know what to do with us. If we enter their home, they have to secure us in some way or they have to kill us”, this doctor recalls.
In Karlovac, they were housed in a sports hall. Ceric recalls that for the first time in a long time they felt safe. They stayed in Croatia for only a few days, after which they were taken to Germany by train from Zagreb.
During the process conducted against the political leadership of Republika Srpska (RS), it was established that thousands of people left Bosanski Novi in July 1992 and that the number of inhabitants decreased from 14,000 to only 1,000.
In the verdict of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Momcilo Krajisnik, the former president of the Assembly of RS, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison, among other things, for the forced displacement of people from several municipalities in BiH, including Bosanski Novi, it is stated that before the formation of the convoy, at the beginning of June 1992, negotiations were held between representatives of local Muslims, Serbian municipal authorities and representatives of the international community, regarding the departure of the population of Bosniak and Croat nationality from this city.
A trial is currently being conducted before the Court of BiH against seven persons who are charged as members of the Military Police Platoon of the Light Novigrad Brigade of the Army of the RS (VRS) for murders, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment of detainees who were in the camp in the Firehouse in this city, Detektor writes.