20th anniversary of kidnapping, murder of Muslims

Today marks the 20th anniversary since 19 passengers were kidnapped from a train at Štrpci train station and later killed.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug

The Belgrade-Bar train was stopped by a group of uniformed men led by Milan Lukić on February 27, 1993.

The men abducted 19 passangers, 18 Bosniaks and a Croat. Bodies of three kidnapped Bosniaks have been found so far.

According to the Hague Tribunal indictment, members of the Avengers paramilitary unit took the kidnapped passangers to the village of Prelovo near the Bosnian town of Višegrad. They took their personal belongings and money and beat them and later killed them near the Drina River.

The Higher Court in Bijelo Polje on September 9, 2002 sentenced Nebojša Ranisavljević to 15 years in prison for his involvement in the crime. The Hague Tribunal sentenced Lukić to life in prison for crimes against Muslims in Višegrad in 1992 and 1993 but not for the Štrpci crime.

The Prijepolje municipality today organized a traditional reception for the families of nine killed victims from the town. Prijepolje Mayor Emir Hašimbegović and Serbian parliament's Committee for Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality Chairman Meho Omerović spoke with the victims' families.

Omerović said that the crime must never be forgotten because “we would forget we are human otherwise”.

According to him, it is a “great disgrace” that organizers and perpetrators still have not been brought to justice.

The Islamic Community in Serbia will also organize a special program in memory of the kidnapped and killed passengers. Islamic Community in Serbia Chief Mufti Muamer Zukorlić, Bosnia-Herzegovina Reis ul Ulema Husein Kavazović and Bosniak National Council President Samir Tandir will speak at the commemoration.

Numerous problems exist, deputy prosecutor says

Serbian Deputy War Crimes Prosecutor Bruno Vekarić has said that there are numerous problems in the Štrpce case and that it is obvious that someone tried to cover up the crime.

“There have been numerous problems and obvious cover-up of the crime ever since it was committed. Does Serbia recognize tights of the victims? The answer is certainly not enough but the investigation led in our prosecution gives hope that we will get a final result, i.e. responsible perpetrators and those who maybe had known but did not prevent the crime,” he told B92.

Vekarić said that victims would this way get justice and that he hoped that all perpetrators would be brought to justice.

Ombudsman: Crime must never be forgotten

Serbia’s Ombudsman Saša Janković says that the 1993 crime committed against Serbian citizens must never happen again and that it must not be forgotten either.

He noted that it was necessary for the state to have a clear stance on this and similar crimes.

The ombudsman stressed that the Constitution, laws and state organs today protected all citizens and foreigners in the Serbian territory, regardless of their ethnicity, religious and political beliefs.

Crime

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