Crime in Strpci – 20 years later

On the occasion of twentieth anniversary of the crime in Strpci, Centre for Civic Education (CCE) points out that this crime must not be forgotten because even after twenty years, the perpetrators are not punished and the mortal remains of only three victims were found.

CCE recalls that on 27 February 1993, nineteen civilians, eight of them citizens of Montenegro, were abducted from the train number 671, which was operating on the relation Belgrade-Bar in Strpci and later killed.

Kidnapping and murder of passengers was done by members of Army of Republika Srpska under the command of Milan Lukic from Visegrad. The only person convicted of kidnapping innocent citizens Nebojsa Ranisavljevic from Despotovac was released from prison in 2011, after he had served his sentence. He was arrested in October 1996 and the Higher Court in Bijelo Polje sentenced him to 15 years in prison, on 9 September 2002. The verdict was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Montenegro in April 2004. Milan Lukic, who commanded a group of kidnappers, was convicted before the court in The Hague in 2009 for the crimes against Muslim civilians in Visegrad during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the crime in Štrpci he was never prosecuted.

Štrpci case, along with other war crimes that have been conducted before the Montenegrin courts, shows that there is no willingness to bring those responsible for the crimes to justice. Authorities had to do everything to find and severely punish all offenders, because final judgment against one person versus not identifying truly responsible for this crime and impunity of other perpetrators did not result in the ultimate determination of the necessary facts, which could lead to the satisfaction of justice for the victims.

Therefore, CGO believes that in addition to the efforts being made by the civil society, the countries of the region should be more devoted to the setting up of additional mechanisms that will work on establishing the facts about war crimes that occurred in the former Yugoslavia in the period of 1991-2001 years. Štrpci case, as well as other war crimes cases should never be forgotten, and should keep reminding us, that we, as a society, owe the establishment of transitional justice and bringing back the dignity to all the innocent victims, but also to all the generations to come.

Mirela Rebronja, Programme coordinator