Survivors mark 21st anniversary of concentration camp closure

Survivors of notorious Manjaca concentration camp during the Bosnian war gathered to mark the 21st anniversary since it was closed.

Survivors mark 21st anniversary of concentration camp closure

World Bulletin/News Desk

Hundreds of war detainees, Bosniaks and Croats, from western Bosnia and Herzegovina gathered on Saturday at Manjaca (near Banja Luka) to mark the 21st anniversary of closing the concentration camp, founded by Bosnian Serb forces in May 1992.

Addressing the attendees, President of the Association of Detainees "Prijedor 92" Mirsad Duratovic said that Manjaca, Omarska and Keraterm concentration camps, like all other camps in Bosnia testify the sordid politics directed towards the innocent non-Serb civilians during the Bosnian war.

"Instead of Manjaca, today I want to remind you once again on the mass grave in Tomasica and invite the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to prosecute those responsible for the crimes," said Duratovic.

Tomasica is the biggest mass grave in Bosnia discovered in September 2013. It is located near the city of Prijedor in north-western Bosnia and is believed to hide about 800 bodies.

Former detainees urged the authorities to stop ignoring them. Only here, they said, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, former detainees have no rights nor the status of civilian victims of war.

Brothers Nezic from Kljuc were detained and tortured in Manjaca from May to December 1992, together with nearly 5,000 non-Serb civilians. Standing in front of the shed where they were detained they said that even today they were wondering what their fault was.

Later, the Hague Tribunal found out that the military police of the Bosnian Serbs actually worked in Manjaca. The concentration camp was located on a military training ground, and at one point there had been about 3,640 men detained. Serbs detained them in the large barns for the cattle, leaving them inside to sit and lie on the concrete.

Muharem Murselovic from Prijedor (north-western Bosnia) recalling the event on August 6, 1992, when he was transferred from Omarska camp (near Prijedor) to Manjaca, said that he could not believe he arrived alive.

 "We were lying over one another in a bus, in our own feces and urine, for more than 12 hours. Several people died during transport. And when we were brought here different tortures began. Hunger and thirst," said Murselovic.

It is believed that during their detention in Manjaca more than 500 civilians were killed, as proved by the mass grave found near the camp with 540 body remains.

For the war crimes, among which are those committed in Manjaca, the International Court in Hague convicted Milomir Stakic from Prijedor to 40 years in prison and Radoslav Brdanin to 32 years. The courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia have convicted another five people for the crimes committed in this camp.

Last Mod: 17 Kasım 2013, 10:23
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