Victims of war torture in Republika Srpska (RS) requested during October the cancellation of the deadline by which they can submit a request for the recognition of the status of a victim and the rights on that basis, as well as the facilitation of procedures.
According to the Law on the Protection of Victims of War Torture in that entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the deadline by which surviving victims of the war in the 1990s can submit a request to exercise their rights expires in October 2023.
The thorny path to the status of a victim of war torture
Since the beginning of 2021, Senad Draganovic, who lives in Donja Ljubija near Prijedor in the northwest of BiH, has been fighting to achieve the status of a victim of wartime torture with the competent Prijedor city office.
Draganovic was a prisoner in the Keraterm and Omarska camps in Prijedor during June and July 1992, and then in the Manjaca camp, on the mountain of the same name near Banja Luka, until December of the same year.
However, despite clear evidence of imprisonment, photographs from the Manjaca camp, and Red Cross booklets, the Prijedor Department for Veteran Affairs refused to recognize Draganovic’s status several times, despite appeals.
”I want some kind of justice. I want someone to admit that something happened and that something is that people were imprisoned, that people were mistreated, and killed. It’s not about material things either, but at the end of the day, why not make it happen? In 1992, I was fired like everyone else without any compensation,” Draganovic stated.
So far, 56 verdicts have been passed for crimes committed in the wartime Municipality of Prijedor.
More than 400 mass graves have been discovered in this part of BiH, including Tomasica, the largest mass grave in the Balkans, which was discovered in 2013.
In the crimes in Prijedor and the surrounding towns, 3.176 people were killed, among them 102 children, and about 30.000 non-Serb citizens of Prijedor went through the Trnopolje, Omarska, and Keraterm camps.
Despite this, only two people from Prijedor have so far achieved the status of victims of wartime torture, Mirsad Duratovic, a survivor of a concentration camp, and one person who survived wartime sexual abuse, Radio Slobodna Evropa reports.