The death of 12 newborns from Banja Luka - www.zlocininadsrbima.com


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Period: Yugoslav Wars

Region: Bosnia's Krajina


The death of 12 newborns from Banja Luka



The death of 12 newborns from Banja Luka is a horrible crime happened on May and June of 1992 during the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1990s and collapse of Yugoslavia. In the Intensive Care Unit of maternity ward in Banja Luka 12 newborns died due to lack of oxygen necessary for adequate treatment. Oxygen shortage was a result of blockage of Serbian territory by Croatian and Muslim military forces in the area of Semberija in the northeast of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The death of these newborns and increasing lack of basic groceries and hygiene supply triggered the great military operation “Corridor 92” when the forces of the Army of Republika Srpska and the units of the Serbian military forces of Krajina confronted the regular forces of the Croatian Army and the Croatian paramilitary forces in Bosnia, so called Hrvatsko Vijeće Odbrane, and the Muslim Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The confrontation lasted for two weeks and resulted in the break of blockage allowing better supply of Western Serbian territories.

Two babies managed to survive, but not for long and not without consequences.

 

PREAMEBLE

SFR Yugoslavia was a federal state comprising six republics (SR Slovenia, SR Croatia, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SR Montenegro, SR Serbia and SR Macedonia). Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) were, by definition, aimed at union and brotherhood of all nationalities living in Yugoslavia. Socio-economic system in Yugoslavia was socialism. The 1974 Yugoslav Constitution led to decentralization of Yugoslavia, which enabled the separatist forces in Slovenia and Croatia and later in Bosnia and Herzegovina start pounding Yugoslavia, followed by bloody wars and persecution. According to all constitutions of Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav People's Army has been regarded as the only existing armed force on the territory of Yugoslavia and, therefore, the only internationally recognized military entity.

In late 1989, the Federal Parliament brought amendments to the Constitution, including replacement of a one-party for a multiparty system. Thus, in addition to the only existing party-The League of Communists of Yugoslavia, other parties could be established.

At the end of January 1990 at the well-known 14th Communist Congress in Belgrade, breakdown of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia occurred and verbal conflict between the Slovenian delegates and the delegates from the Socialist Republic of Serbia broke out regarding their visions of the future of the joint state of Yugoslavia. The Slovenian delegation left the meeting followed by the Croatian delegation, bringing into question the work of the Congress. Soon after, the delegation of SR Bosnia and Herzegovina and Socialist Republic of Macedonia left the Congress, too. Thus, after 45 years the rule of communist in the Yugoslavia has been interrupted.

 

 

 

THE SITUATION IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA


Bosnia and Herzegovina's central Republic of Yugoslavia, in which Muslims, Serbs and Croats, along with national minorities. 18 November 1990 held the first multiparty elections after WW2. The government is formed by the anti-communist coalition parties: SDA, SDS and HDZ. Member of Parliament who received the most votes was Fikret Abdic (47.4%), a successful businessman from Velika Kladusa (Northwest Bosnia). But he was removed to the side of Muslim extremists because he did not want war, nor conflict with the Serbs. In fact, they was just bait Muslim voters in the elections. Thus, the president of the BiH presidency Alija Izetbegovic became the pre-war prisoner and author of the famous chauvinist "Islamic Declaration". President of the Parlament of BiH became Momcilo Krajisnik from the SDS party, a Prime Minister of SR BIH was Jure Prelivan (Croat). This coalition has endured 15 month. Collapsed at the beginning of the war in BiH, in April 1992.

Leading members of the Muslim Party of Democratic Action of Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, Ejup Ganic and others were in 1991 decided they did not want SR Bosnia and Herzegovina in Yugoslavia, and that they want an independent state Bosnia and Herzegovina. Here are the plans of the SDA and HDZ matched, but both parties wanted to have an ethnically and religiously pure state. Or the Bosnian's Croats would like to merge with Croatia, and the Muslims Islamic republic. The idea of ​​an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina are certainly spread by the media. Yet in October 1991 in Sarajevo newspapers were taking an open threat to the Serbian people. Among other things, announced the renewal of the so-called. Handzar divisions, Ustasha units 1941-1945, which is committed horrible crimes against Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia. There are Cinli up mostly Muslims. Otherwise, the Ustasha atrocities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have reached its peak (Prebilovci, Drakulic, Bileca, Gacko, Donja Gradina, Kupres).

In August 1991, starts the organized aramilitary forces of Muslims and Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina which went through the political parties SDA and HDZ, with the aim of the attack on the Federal Army of Yugoslavia (JNA). In October 1991 the establishment of local committees paramilitary "Green Berets" and "Patriotic League BIH". In Mostar in the second half of 1991 was full of members of the JNA, who came from Croatian (Dalmatia and Dubrovnik area), from where they were expelled or withdrawn. They are withdrawn at the end of March 1992 in Uzice (Serbia).

March 1, 1992 organized a referendum on the separation of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Yugoslavia, where 62.4% of voters voted for independence. A day later in Sarajevo, members of the "Green Berets", led by a criminal Ramiz Delalic Celo, shot at a Serbian wedding party at Bascarsija and killed the old wedding guest Nikola Gardovic, a priest Radenko Mikovic wounded. It was an event that announced the bloody Bosnian-Herzegovinian war of the 1990s, but it was also one of the reasons to dissolve still mixed police in Sarajevo. After that, followed by numerous attacks on Serbian positions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as members of the JNA (Sijekovac, Kupres, Sarajevo, Tuzla...). International representatives were just silent observers.


 

 


Situation in Banja Luka

Banja Luka is the largest city in Bosanska Krajina, western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, respectively. Banja Luka is situated at the bottom of mountain Manjača and Čemernica and at the mouth of  Vrbanja river in Vrbas. The first evidence on human civilization in this area are traced back to prehistoric time, and later, Illyrians, Celts and Romans are known to have lived here. In the 6th century the area was inhabited by the South Slavs. From 7th to 12th century, the area of Banja Luka and Bosnia as a whole were the part of the Byzantine Empire, witnessing occasional invasions of Hungarians.

1494 is traced as the time when the name Banja Luka was first mentioned.

Osmanli Turks came to Balkan and during their attempts to invade Vienna, they conquered Banja Luka and Bosnia in 1528. They brought Islam and in 1533 Banja Luka became the centre of Sanjak of Bosnia. Frequent Austro-Turkish wars in 17th and 18th centuries led to desolation of Banja Luka and its countryside, especially in 1737.

After the Congress of Berlin in 1878, Austro- Hungarian Empire annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina causing deep discontent among Serbian people and Muslims as well. The Court in Vienna increasingly conducted terror and tyranny against Serbian people and this led to assassination of Austrian Archduke and Crown Prince, Franz Ferdinand, committed by Serb Gavrilo Princip together with the members of the organization Young Bosnia (Mlada Bosna) on Vidovdan in 1914, which is seen as a trigger of WW1.

After the Great War, union of the South Slavs into a single country happened on December 1, 1918. According to administrative division, Banja Luka became part of the Vrbas Banate. The town then faced economic and cultural development.

Attack launched by Germany and its allies on the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941, known as April war, included terrific bombing of Banja Luka on April 9, 1941. Soon after, Banja Luka fell under the authority of the Independent State of Croatia. Within 4 years, Ustashe committed horrific crimes against Serbian people and the largest crimes happened in February 1942 in the villages: Drakulić, Motike, Šargovac and Rakovac mine when 2,300 people were killed in one day (including 800 children).

After the Second World War, Banja Luka had facilitating economic growth until October, 27 1969 when a strong earthquake hit the city. It's worth to note that during the socialism 30 state companies operated in Banja Luka.

According to the 1991 census Banja Luka municipality had 200,000 citizens, or 67% of Serbs, 15% of Croats and 15% of Muslims.



 

War events

The city and surroundings of Banja Luka didn't face significant war events, but near Banja Luka Serbian soldiers participated in severe confrontations against the Muslim and Croatian forces which most of the time initiated joint actions.

The Army of Republic of Croatia committed aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina, first in the northeastern parts of B&H in countryside of Brčko, Odžak and Orašje, and then in the southwestern parts of B&H: Čapljina, Duvno, Lijevno, Kupres…

This blockage of Semberija and Bosanska Posavina at the end of April and in May of 1992 led to break of communication between the western parts of Serbian Republic in B&H and Republic of Srpska Krajina and Serbia. The aim of Muslims and Croats was to surround Serbs from all sides and destroy them.

 



Death of newborns

Beside food, Banja Luka lacked medical supplies. Many appeals for help were sent but without any success. Even the UN Security Council and UNICEF ignored appeals.

Soon after, due to lack of oxygen 12 newborns died at the Pediatric Clinic in Banja Luka. Doctors tried to use industrial oxygen which they got from the Republika Srpska Army and several businessman and citizens, but this wasn’t enough to save babies.

 

Name of mother Date of birth Name of baby Date of death
 Dusanka Djukic  22.05.1992    22.05.1992
 Zivka Knezevic  22.05.1992    22.05.1992
 Fatima Dedic  23.05.1992    27.05.1992
 Zeljka Tubic  28.05.1992    28.05.1992
 Zliha Murica-Delic  01.06.1992    01.06.1992
 Safeta Medic  26.05.1992    02.06.1992
 Nadja Puska  29.05.1992    01.06.1992
 Dragoslava Maric  03.06.1992   05.06.1992
 Milena Sandic  15.06.1992    16.06.1992
 Dragica Komljekovic   01.06.1992   19.06.1992
 Majda Djuran  17.06.1992   17.06.1992
 Grozda Raus   28.05.1992  Vladimir 19.06.1992


 

Babies that survived

Slađana Kobas was born on June 18, 1992 and she was the baby that fought to survive from May 22 until June 19, 1992. The lack of oxygen seriously damaged her health leading to permanent visual impairment, brain and lung damage. Later she fought bone cancer. She died on February 9, 2006 at the age of 13. She was buried on February 11 in Prijedor.


Marko Medaković was born on June 21, 1992. After delivery he was without oxygen for 10 minutes, which caused him to breath with ⅓ of lungs and suffer from cerebral paralysis, hematoma on brain and spine curvature. Snježana Brezo made a documentary about him which was presented at the Film Festival in Berlin.


 


Aftermath

Seven days after the death of the last baby, the Republika Srpska Army together with the the Army of Srpska Krajina established corridor with Serbia allowing regular supply of oxygen.

Later, people named this historical military success “The Corridor of Life” because it allowed delivery of new babies, as general of the Republic of Srpska Army, Momir Talić, said: “I don’t want children to die anymore”.
 



Do not forget and do not repeat!