NGOs Human Rights Action, Centre for Civic Education and Centre for Women and Peace Education ANIMA are organising a memorial gathering tomorrow, Thursday, 25 May 2016 at noon, in order to commemorate 25 years since the deportation of Bosnian refugees from Montenegro that occurred in 1992. The gathering will take place in front of the main entrance of Security centre in Herceg Novi, and it is supported by the Council for Civic Control over the Work of the Police.
We call everyone to pay their respect to victims of crime of deportation of refugees by gathering and laying flowers on the place from which they were taken to death, and thus draw the attention of public to this war crime that remained unsanctioned to this day, and prevent it from happening against civilians ever again.
Montenegrin police illegally arrested at least 66 civilians in May of 1992, aged 18 to 66, who fled to Montenegro from the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Following the arrest, they handed them over to army of Bosnian Serbs to serve as an exchange for prisoners of war. On 25 May 1992, one group of arrested refugees was sent by bus from the collection centre at the police station in Herceg Novi to Prison of minors in Foča, which, at the time, already had every feature of a concentration camp for non-Serbian population, as was found in the verdict of Hague Tribunal against the warden of that camp, Milorad Krnojelac. Only a few of them survived the torture of that place. Two days later, on 27 May 1992, second group of arrested refugees was transported by bus from Herceg Novi to the territory of Republic of Srpska “where they were supposed to be assimilated with a group of Muslims in the exchange for captured Serb territorials”. All of them were executed on the territory of B&H, wherein all of their bodies have still not been found, nor is there any information about the place of their execution.
NGOs (HRA, CCE and ANIMA) and a member of Council for Civil Control over the Work of the Police, Aleksandar Saša Zeković, have filed three initiatives six years ago:
1) To Ranko Krivokapić, President of Parliament of Montenegro, and every head of MP clubs to declare a Day of Remembrance of victims of crime of deportation of refugee which occurred in 1992;
2) To the Prime Minister of Montenegro Igor Lukšić, Minister of Interior Ivan Brajović and Minister of Culture Branislav Mićunović, as well as to then president of municipal parliament of Herceg Novi Dejan Mandić – to raise a memorial to victims of deportation of refugees from 1992 in front of the premises of Police Department in Herceg Novi, thus supporting the will of families of deported victims;
3) In 2011, there was a proposal for Montenegrin police to symbolically issue an apology for illegal acting during the arrest and extradition of refuges to enemy army of Republic of Srpska, B&H, on the occasion of twentieth anniversary of the crime.
None of the these initiatives were accepted to this day.
Dejan Mandić, former president of municipal parliament of Herceg Novi, has stated that Herceg Novi is not prepared to support the initiative to raise the memorial, as well as that he did not address any higher instance with regards to this matter, namely the Ministry of Culture. The initiative was put forward for voting two years ago, but it did not gain the necessary majority, because the majority of councillors of municipal parliament abstained (DPS, Izbor, Novska lista), or were just absent (SNP, Democrats’ Club). Still, it remains noted that councillors Dragan Šimrak and Milica Berberović (SDP) and Jovana Šijaković (Izbor) voted for this initiative.
Every political party which participated in the elections in Herceg Novi, as well as Bosniak Party, are invited to tomorrow’s gathering.
We call the citizens to join, and media to cover the event.
Tea Gorjanc Prelević, Executive director of Human Rights Action
Daliborka Uljarević, Executive director of Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
Ljupka Kovačević, Coordinator of ANIMA – Centre for Women and Peace Education