In Kalinovik, 4 days ago, on June 26th, the 30th anniversary of the crimes committed against Bosniaks in this and surrounding municipalities were marked, and the families of the victims and participants in the gathering went through what they call the “route of death”, visiting the places where their family members were last alive, camps, war crimes sites, and mass graves.
Among them was Almir Hadzic, who was a 16-year-old boy at the beginning of the war in Kalinovik and witnessed the abduction and imprisonment of his family members in the Kalinovik camps in June 1992.
In front of the Elementary School “Ljutica Bogdan”, which at the time when served as a camp was named “Miladin Radojevic”, Almir recalls for the interview that, along with others, his father Edhem Hadzic, a Kalinovik butcher, was transferred from there to the “Gunpowder Warehouse”, which today is not a memorial, but a space for keeping cattle.
Hadzic says that on July 17th, together with his cousin, he was sent to drag sponges to the “Gunpowder Warehouse”, where he played football as a boy, and that that day he saw his father through the gate of the camp, who was, as he explains, his best friend.
”I saw my father, before it all happened, through that gate upstairs. (…) And there, through that gate, we kissed. And he said, ‘Why are you coming here for me? Go to your grandmother’s in the village’, which is the village of Golubici, a predominantly Muslim village,” Almir describes an encounter with his father, who, along with the remains of many relatives, was found in 2004 in the mass grave of the Miljevina Tunnel and buried in Kalinovik six years later.
Although he says, he wakes up in pain over the loss of his father, he always returns to Kalinovik, maintains the estate, and sows.
Apart from Almir’s father, according to the Association of Families of Victims “Istina-Kalinovik 92” (The Truth-Kalinovik), 121 people were killed in the area of this municipality, and 42 are still missing. Samir Vranovic, the president of the Association, addressed on June 26th during the commemoration of the suffering of Bosniaks in Kalinovik and surrounding places, saying that their gathering pays tribute to all innocent victims and how they remember them with prayers.
”From April until the end of 1992, the most serious forms of war crimes were committed, namely crimes against humanity, crimes of murder, rape, crimes of forcible transfer of civilians, robbery, and all other war crimes proven before the International Court of Justice in The Hague and the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH),” said Vranovic, adding that the truth and justice have recently been proven at the War Crimes Court in Belgrade.
A Belgrade court overturned a verdict sentencing Dalibor Krstovic, a former member of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), to nine years in prison for raping a Bosniak prisoner in 1992 in Kalinovik and remanding the case for a retrial.
Ratko Bundalo, former commander of the Kalinovik Tactical Group, was sentenced to 22 years in prison, and Nedjo Zeljalja, commander of the police station at the Public Security Station in that city, to 15 years, because in the period from May 1992 to March 1993, they ordered and carried out the persecution of Bosniaks from that area.
Slavko Lalovic, a former guard at the Elementary School “Miladin Radojevic” in Kalinovik, was sentenced to five years in prison.
In 2013, the Appellate Chamber of the Court of BiH acquitted Milan Peric, Spasoje Doder, Predrag Terzic, and Aleksandar Cerovina of charges for crimes committed in this area.
Apart from Ratko Mladic, a former general of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), the Hague Tribunal sentenced former President of RS Radovan Karadzic to life imprisonment, among other things, for persecutions in Kalinovik, within which other crimes were committed.
Vranovic added that even today he cannot believe that the neighbors, with whom they had good relations were ready to commit crimes then, and that they now glorify war criminals with murals like the one at the entrance to Kalinovik dedicated to the life sentence of Ratko Mladic.
”The association constantly insists that camps and crime scenes be marked with memorial plaques and a martyr’s monument. (…) The association erected the only monument near the Tuzla barn only thanks to the fact that it is private property. Authorities are ignoring the association’s appeals to mark other execution sites and crime scenes,” Vranovic pointed out and added that there was a lack of a systemic solution by the authorities, marking, and preserving war crimes sites, Detektor writes.