A memorial service was held for 32 residents of the Srebrenica village of Brežani who on this day 28 years ago were killed by Muslim forces from Srebrenica and surrounding villages in their homes and yards
No one has been brought to justice for this crime or for any other mass crime committed against Serbs in the area of Srebrenica, even though victims were killed in the most brutal ways.
On that occasion, candles were lit for Serb civilians, and flowers were laid at a memorial that was erected after the war in that village in memory of those killed.
Srebrenica Mayor Mladen Grujičić, delegations of the Municipal Veterans’ Organization and Organization of Families of Captured and Killed Soldiers and Missing Civilians, the Bratunac Veterans’ Organization and several political party delegations laid flowers at the memorial.
“Twenty-eight years ago, this Serbian village was attacked and civilians were killed in their homes. A horrific crime was committed against Serbs here and it is painful that no one has yet been brought to justice. This is but one in a series of crimes without punishment committed against Serbs in this area,” Grujičić said.
He has said that he will not give up the fight for truth and justice and that courts in BiH will have to accept the fact that Serbs suffered in Srebrenica as well, not only Bosniaks, which claim some are trying to impose on the world.
Grujičić has said that double standards and unequal attitude of the Prosecutor’s Office and Court of BiH create mistrust in BiH institutions, divisions, deteriorate ethnic relations and prevent the truth about war events and Serbian victims from being exposed, and without all this, there can be no reconciliation and trust among peoples.
According to him, as soon as it is seen that some witnesses will confirm the indictment against perpetrators of the crime against Serbs, the Court is seeking for any reason to cut short and postpone a trial seeking for new evidence and a way to exonerate those accused of responsibility with the same excuse, “there is a lack of evidence,” Grujičić said.
“They were killing everyone on their way – women, children and elderly people in order to expel all Serbs from the area and ethnically cleanse Srebrenica Municipality. The ICTY and the BiH judiciary, which were formed obviously to try only Serbs, will have to start prosecuting perpetrators of crimes against Serbs in Brežani and other Serb villages around Srebrenica and Bratunac,” Grujičić said.
President of the Organization of Families of Captured and Killed Serbs and Missing Civilians of Srebrenica Branimir Kojić has said that the crime in the largest Srebrenica village was committed by Muslim neighbors from the neighboring village of Osmača and Srebrenica and that it is unacceptable that no one has yet been brought to justice for crimes committed against residents of Brežani.
“No one has been brought to justice for Serbs killed as the BiH judiciary and the ICTY are belittling Serb victims and their families. It is pointless to talk about it anymore, but we will never give up the fight for truth and accountability of criminals who killed Serbs in this and multiple villages of Srebrenica Municipality,” said Kojić.
According to him, victims and ways they were killed are known.
“Perpetrators are also known and it is up to the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH to issue indictments, find evidence if there is a lack thereof, and not to estimate that there is not enough evidence to issue indictments, which is a shame for the judiciary and unheard-of hypocrisy,” he said.
On that day, Obradin Balčaković was dragging his wounded brother through the woods for five hours.
“It was horrible. Unbearable noise was created from the shootings, yelling, roars, banging on various objects. They raided homes and butchered, killed or burned people alive,” Balčaković said.
Surviving residents say that criminals caught some residents alive, took them to unknown places and that they are still listed as missing.
Despite all efforts, mortal remains of Stanko Milošević and deaf-mute Dostana and Krstina Lazić have never been found and no one has been held accountable for the crime in this and other Serb villages in Srebrenica Municipality.
Family members say that this creates additional mistrust in BiH institutions and prevents the reconciliation process and creation of trust between the remaining residents of the municipality.
Survivors say that Muslim forces first surrounded the village and started shooting and killing everyone on their way.
Under the cover of the night and morning fog, and thanks to the knowledge of the terrain, some residents managed to escape to nearby forests or to hide in the village. Hidden, they were watching horrific killings. Those who were captured were tortured, massacred and burned, dying in agony.
The oldest victim of the massacre was 88-year-old Stanko Milošević, and the youngest was 15-year-old Ljubomir Josipović. There were five women among those killed.
Mileva Rankić survived the attack but her sons – 20-year-old Miroslav and 22-year-old Dragoslav and her husband Milisav were killed on that day.
Mileva says she lost trust in the judiciary and that she expects that Devine justice instead of earthly justice will reach those who killed her husband and sons.
“Years are passing by and no one is reacting and no one is being held accountable for the killing of my children and other innocent children of Serb women,” says this mother lamenting as to why “God did not take her” instead of her children on that day.
On that day, Milovan Milošević lost his 19-year-old son Vidoje and father Stanko who was 88. As a consequence of wounding, Milovan is still hardly walking even with crutches.
The village of Brežani, like other villages in the Podrinje area which were raided by Muslim forces, was looted and torched, and more of half of homes have not yet been renovated.
Only some 50 people live today in Brežani, while there were 400 before the war.