Crimes in Bosanski Brod, 1992 -

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Period: Yugoslav Wars

Region: Yugoslavia

Crimes in Bosanski Brod, 1992

The crime in Bosanski brod 1992 refers to murders of Serbian civilians from March  until October, 1992 committed by Croatian military forces in Bosanski Brod (at the north of Bosnia and Herzegovina) together with members of muslim paramilitary units and later, the muslim army of BiH.


The monstrosity of this crime against Serbian civilians makes it one of the most terrific scenes seen on the war-affected areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1990s. These crimes against Serbian civilians have never been processed.


The Hague Tribunal has never shown an interest in prosecution of criminals and the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina deliberately postpone dealing with this cases. Even EU representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not put pressure on authorities in Sarajevo to prosecute perpetrators although they are bound to do so according to the founding charter of EU.




SFR Yugoslavia was a federal state made up of 6 republics (FR Slovenia, FR Croatia, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SR Montenegro, SR Serbia and SR Macedonia). Both Yugoslavia and the JNA were, by definition, conceived on the principle of “brotherhood and unity” of all peoples and nationalities who lived in the SFRY.

The social and economic system of the SFRY was socialism. The 1974 Constitution of Yugoslavia brought about the decentralization of the SFRY, which later enabled the separatist forces in Slovenia and Croatia, and later in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to begin the break-up of Yugoslavia, followed by bloody wars and persecution.

In all the constitutions of Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav People's Army was defined as the only armed force in the territory of the SFRY, and therefore the only internationally recognized military entity. At the end of 1989, the SFRY Assembly passed amendments to the Constitution, thus replacing the one-party system with the multiparty system. Which meant that in addition to the only SKJ party, other parties could now be formed.

At the end of January 1990, the Alliance of Communists of Yugoslavia collapsed, at the famous 14th SKJ Congress in Belgrade, when there were sharp verbal clashes between Slovenian and Serbian delegates over the vision of the future of the common state of the SFRY.

The Slovenian delegation left the session, immediately followed by the delegation of the FR Croatia, which brought the issue of the congress into question. After them, the delegations of the FR of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the FR of Macedonia also left the congress. Thus, after 45 years, the rule of the communists in SFRY.



Bosnia and Herzegovina was the central Republic of Yugoslavia where Muslims, Serbs and Croats lived along with national minorities. On November 18, 1990 the first multiparty elections were held after WW2. The government was formed by the anticommunist coalition parties: SDA, SDS and HDZ. Member of Parliament who received the majority of votes was Fikret Abdic (47.4%), a successful businessman from Velika Kladusa (Northwest Bosnia). But he was overpowered by muslim extremists because he didn't want war, nor conflict with Serbs. In fact, he was just a bait for muslim voters on the elections. Thus, president of the BiH Presidency became Alija Izetbegovic, the pre-war prisoner and author of the notorious chauvinist "Islamic Declaration". President of the Parlament of BiH became Momcilo Krajisnik from SDS party, and Prime Minister of Federal Republic of BiH became Jure Prelivan (Croat). This coalition had endured for 15 month. It collapsed at beginning of the war in BiH, in April 1992.

Leading members of the Muslim Party of Democratic Action- Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, Ejup Ganic and others decided in 1991 that they didn't want Federal Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to remain part of Yugoslavia, and that they wanted an independent state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Here the plans of SDA and HDZ coincided, but both parties wanted to have an ethnically and religiously cleansed states. Bosnian's Croats wanted to merge with Croatia, and the Muslims to create Islamic republic. The idea

Izetbegovic participated in WW II in notorious Bosnian as Muslim 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar (1st Croatian) member, known for the WW II genocide of Serbs

of ​​an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina was further spread by the media. As early as October 1991 newspapers in Sarajevo published open threats to Serbian people. Inter alia, there was announcement of renewal of the so-called Handchar division, Ustasha unit from period of 1941-1945, which committed horrible crimes against Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia. This division had been mostly filled with Muslims. It is worth mentioning that Ustasha atrocities in Bosnia and Herzegovina had reached its peak in places such as Prebilovci, Drakulic, Bileca, Gacko, Donja Gradina, Kupres. 

August 1991 witnessed organized arming of paramilitary forces of Muslims and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina which was conducted  through channels of the political parties SDA and HDZ, with the aim of attack on the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA). In October 1991 establishment of local committees of paramilitary units "Green Berets" and "Patriotic League B&H" occured. In the second half of 1991 Mostar was full of members of the JNA, who came from Croatia (Dalmatia and Dubrovnik area), from where they were expelled or withdrawn. They were withdrawn at the end of March 1992 in Uzice (Serbia).

On March 1, 1992 a referendum on the separation of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Yugoslavia was organized with 62.4% of voters having voted for independence. A day later in Sarajevo, members of the "Green Berets", led by a criminal Ramiz Delalić aka Celo, started shoting at a Serbian wedding party at Bascarsija having killed the groom's father Nikola Gardovic and wounded priest Radenko Mikovic. This was an event that announced the bloody war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s, but this also served as cause to dissolve still mixed police in Sarajevo. After that, numerous attacks on Serbian positions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and on members of the JNA occured (Sijekovac, Kupres, Sarajevo, Tuzla...). International representatives remained silent to these events.




The situation in Bosanski Brod


At that time, the municipality of Bosanski Brod  had 34.138 people of which 13,993 (40.98%) were Croats, 14,389 (42,14%) were Serbs, 14,389 (42.14%) were muslims and 1.664 (4.82%) the rest.


At the beginning of 1992, Serbs feared that they would suffer genocidal actions as they did in NDH. They were being provoked by their Croatian and muslim neighbours all the time. They were being fired from their jobs. Their movements were limited. They would receive blackmails and threats via phone calls.


On March 3, 1992, Croatian-muslim military forces together with 108. Brigade of the Croatian National Guard took over Bosanski Brod, which was in state of occupation and local Serbian people were intimidated, physically abused and systematically plundered in their private homes. Dozens of Serbs from Bosanski Brod municipality were taken to camps in Croatia and Bosanski Brod itself was transformed into a camp. This was the first time from the beginning of the war that Croatia conduct open aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of Yugoslavia.

On the bridge which connected Bosanski Brod i Slavonski Brod there was inscription from the beginning of March, 1992, that “Serbs and dogs are forbidden to cross over”. Orthodox churches found themselves under the attack of joint Croatian-muslim forces. The Orthodox gravery was devastated and The Church of Holy Mary (built in 1890) was completely destroyed and the church property was plundered.


The monument devoted to the victims of fascism from World War II was also destroyed and monuments of a hero: Drago Vidosevic and Frico Pavlik. Jewish monument in Tulek was destroyed, too.



Orderers of the crime

  1. Nijaz Causevic aka Medo, commander of The Emergency Unit of HVO
  2. Marko Milos, born in 1951
  3. Miroslav Kopljar, born in 1969


The Crime in Sijekovac


Croatian military units crossed the river Sava on March 26, 1992 and together with there Croatian-muslim forces committed crimes against Serbian civilians in Sijekovac near Brod. In the village Sijekovac within only one hour, 9 people including children of Serbian families Zecevic, Radanovic, Milosevic i Trivic were killed. Some corpses were taken by a refrigerator car and thrown into the river, and 15 houses were burnt and destroyed.


In the next few days Croatian and muslim military forces killed 51 Serbs in Sijekovac, and in total 70 Serbs were killed and 9 are still missing. Croatian military forces first entered the house of Zecevic family. They immediately killed Jovan Zecevic (72) and his sons Milan, Vasa and Petar. They then killed Luka Milosevic and his sons Zeljko i Dragan (17), and then Vid Radanovic. They even killed immobile old man, Sreto Trivic.


The team responsible for process of documentation of war crimes in Republic of Srpska possess documents about murders of Serbian children on the territory of Bosanski Brod. Based on statements of witness who survived massacre in Sijekovac there are indications that organs were taken from children before liquidation which were then sold across Europe on black market, especially in Germany. Association that searches for missing persons from Brod holds information that 500 Serbs were killed during Croatian eight months long occupation.


From many mass graves 286 corpses were exhumed and at least that number is still missing. The largest grave is river Sava. In the area of Brod municipality there were more than 10 camps where Serbs were imprisoned, mostly civilians- women, children, old people- 2,000 in total. Many of them were later taken to other camps in Slavonski Brod and Orasje. HOS units and Handzar divisions under the command of Ante Prkacin, stopped 4 buses of Roma people who were fleeing from Srebrenica and Skelane on March 27, 1992 to enter Croatia. This was not allowed so they were liquidated. This was testified by Sakib Belic, the member of HOS.


Testimony of Jelica Zecevic:

“I knew something terrible would happen. My husband went to work that day in refinery, but he didn’t come to workplace. Croatian and muslim neighbours took him back, and put guards at all entries into the village. On that day, at 5 pm, village was tremendously bombed. In the basement of our house lots of Serbian neighbours found shelter. When the fire stopped, in the house of Zecevic family entered large group of soldiers of Republic of Croatia. Among them, I recognized our Croatian and muslim neighbours.


They were in uniforms of the Army of Republic of Croatia. They immediately started to curse and threaten to kill us...they took my husband and tied him to nearby tree. They threatened that they would rape me and then pour fuel and burn me. I bagged them not to do that. First, they killed my husband. They didn’t even spare my groomsman and father-in-law. I survived because a Croatian neighbour said they were forbidden to kill women.”


Beside members of Zecevic family, Croatian soldiers killed three members of Milosevic family: father and two sons, Marko Radanovic and Sreto Trivic who were taken from the basement of Zecevic house, where they hid from granates, and ten more Serbs. Ljubica Sedlic is a witness of an evil which occured in Sijekovac on May 26, 1992. She saw the crime committed upon Zecevic family. On the next day, her house was burnt with her immobile husband in it. She heard perpetrators shout: “this is the army of Paragin and Ante Prkacin. Serbs, don’t forget us!” Ljubica and some other persons were taken to the chamber in Sijekovac, and later to camps.



The crime in Kricanovo


On May 5, 1992 in Kricanovo village, mostly populated by Croats, units of the Army of BiH and Croatian HOS killed Serbian civilians with cold weapons in the house of Zarko Tomicevic. They plundered the house before liquidation.


The crime in Ploj


From May 8-12, 1992 units of the Army of BiH and Croatian HOS entered the village Ploj and killed mostly old and powerless people. First, they plundered their property and then burnt their houses.


They threw victims in draw wells or left them in burnt houses.


The crime in Zboriste


On May 11, 1992 the largest Serbian village in Bosanski Brod municipality, Lijesce, was attacked. Numerous Croatian and muslim units attacked this village and lots of arms was used during slaughter of Serbs. Lots of Serbs were killed in their homes and dozens were taken to camps. A church devoted to the Descent of the Holy Spirit, built in 1869, was destroyed.


The crime in Vrelo


On May 12, 1992  in nationally mixed village Vrelo, in Brod municipality, units of the muslim army of BiH, attacked only Serbs and killed them with cold weapon.

Many were taken to camps and their property plundered. The village church built in 1939, was destroyed.


The crime in Klakar


On May 13, 1992 Croatian-muslim forces entered  Serbian villages, Gornji and Donji Klakar and Vinska, conducted extensive plunder, killed some civilians and others took to camps. The Orthodox Church devoted to Saints Cosmas and Damian in Klaker, was destroyed and burnt.


11 civilians were killed in Klaker with only 5 being identified. Two old Serbs were killed in Vinska, the orthodox church was destroyed and burnt, as well the monument devoted to NOR soldiers. The property of Serbs from Vinska was plundered.


The murder of Macinko family


On June 1, 1992 in Bosanski Brod in the street M. Tita no. 117, the family of Mackinko Branko was killed. During occupation of Bosanski Brod more than 100 Serbian civilians were killed.


The murder of Bardak family


On August 17, 1992 members of the muslim army of BIH brutally killed Bardak family in Bosanski Brod, and plundered their property.


Trial and indictments


There are numerous evidence about the crime against Serbian civilians in Bosanski Brod and surrounding villages in 1992. Complete documentation related to this case was submitted to investigators of the Hague Tribunal on May 22, 2002, but the Hague Tribunal transferred this case to the Prosecutor’s Office in BIH in 2006 which deals with the war crimes on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


On December 2010, Zemir Kovacevic, former member of 101. Brigade of HOS, was arrested in Sweden on the basis of international arrest warrant, and not until October 29, 2011 was he extradited to the Prosecutor’s Office of BIH. On May 26, 2015m the Appellate Counsel of the Court of BIH confirmed in the Second Instance Verdict 10 years of imprisonment to Kovacevic for murder of (two) Serbian civilians, maltreatment, looting and taking civilians to perform forced labour.


Names of victims

  1. Jovo V. Zecevic, born in 1920, Sijekovac, murdered on May 26, 1992
  2. Vaso J. Zecevic, born in 1958, Sijekovac, murdered on May 26, 1992
  3. Milan J. Zecevic, born in 1950, Sijekovac, murdered on May 26, 1992
  4. Petar J. Zecevic, born in 1953, Sijekovac, murdered on May 26, 1992
  5. Luka I. Milosevic, born in 1943, Sijekovac, murdered on May 26, 1992
  6. Dragan L. Milosevic, born in 1974, Sijekovac, murdered on May 26, 1992
  7. Zeljko L. Milosevic, born in 1968, Sijekovac, murdered on May 26, 1992
  8. Mirko V. Radovanovic, born in 1965, Sijekovac, murdered on May 26, 1992
  9. Sreto M. Trivic, born in 1927, Sijekovac, murdered on May 26, 1992
  10. Andrija P. Martic, born in 1935, Bosanski Brod, murdered on May 26, 1992
  11. Miomir A. Martic, born in 1961, Bosanski Brod, murdered on May 26, 1992
  12. Dusko M. Dujanic, born in 1967, Bosanski Brod, murdered on May 26, 1992
  13. Dusko A. Milosevic, born in 1972, Bosanski Brod, murdered on April 4, 1992
  14. Ivica J. Skvarc, born in 1971, Bosanski Brod, murdered on April 4, 1992
  15. Nedeljko N. Jugovic, born in 1944, Bosanski Brod, murdered on April 4, 1992
  16. Dragan N. Jugovic, born in 1972, Bosanski Brod, murdered on April 4, 1992
  17. Darinka V. Tomicevic, born in 1941,Kricanovo, murdered on May 5, 1992
  18. Ruza D. Tomicevic, born in 1932, Kricanovo, murdered on May 5, 1992
  19. Nedeljko S. Tomicevic, born in 1935, Kricanovo, murdered on May 5, 1992
  20. Dragutin S. Tomicevic, born in 1934, Kricanovo, murdered on May 5, 1992
  21. Marko T. Tomicevic, born in 1931, Kricanovo, murdered on May 5, 1992
  22. Ljubo D. Gojkovic, born in 1928, Ploj, murdered on May 8, 1992
  23. Smiljana S. Gojkovic, born in 1947, Ploj, murdered on May 8, 1992
  24. Dragica I. Ivanovic, born in 1932, Ploj, murdered on May 8, 1992
  25. Jelica P. Ivanovic, Ploj, murdered on May 8, 1992
  26. Toda A. Kalabic, born in 1921, Ploj, murdered on May 8, 1992
  27. Slavko S. Kalabic, born in 1917, Ploj, murdered on May 8, 1992
  28. Jelka Petrovic, born in 1913, Ploj, murdered on May 8, 1992
  29. Simeuna V. Petrovic, born in 1913, Ploj, murdered on May 8, 1992
  30. Petar Dj. Petrovic, born in 1912, Ploj, murdered on May 8, 1992