Bosniak returnees to Drina River region suffer constant threats and intimidation

Bosniak returnees to Drina River region suffer constant threats and intimidation

TUZLA, December 30 (FENA) – There are more and more Bosniak returnees who have received subpoenas in recent months to testify about war crimes that took place in the early 1990s, it was said today at a press conference of the Tuzla Canton Disabled Veterans Association on the topic of harassment of Bosniaks returnees in their places of residence in the entity of Republika Srpska.

More than a hundred subpoenas have arrived in the Coordination of Veterans’ Organizations of the Tuzla Canton. These are subpoenas to people who have returned to their pre-war places of residence. We cannot allow this to happen to our people and for them to be arrested and taken by the police in the middle of the night. We consider this to be a form of new ethnic cleansing,” said the president of this association Fahrudin Hasanović.

He points out that no one has the right to induce them to give any statements, because the Court of BiH is the only one which has the competences in these matters.

“We cannot allow for these people to be threatened, for certain individuals to barge into their homes and pressure them into giving statements. There is the Court of BiH which is competent for something like that. We fought for Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole, and not the entities or cantons. People in the region of Drina River cannot be left on their own, for strangers to barge into their homes, and to be subpoenaed by the police,” Hasanović said.

More than 3,500 people from the region of the Drina River, mostly Bosniaks, are on the list of those to be questioned in the coming period in connection with certain alleged acts of war crimes since the early 1990s.

They claim they were not even told who in fact is investigating them. Returnees say they receive subpoenas directly from the RS Interior Ministry.

At today’s press conference, it was said that residents from the village where one of the biggest crimes against civilians was committed are also being brought to hearings. This village is Liplje near Zvornik.

“To remind, 700 people were killed in Zvornik, in Bijeli Potok, and in addition to this number, two thousand five hundred people more were killed in a number of villages in this region,” Hasanović stressed.