bosnia report
New Series No: 27-28 January - May 2002
Impermissible silence about the mass graves of Brcko
by Dani

Along with thousands of other men and women from Brcko, Andjelka Arnautalic has been persistently asking the appropriate domestic and international institutions to make a start with the exhumation of over three thousand Bosniaks and a few dozen Croats from mass graves, and to bring to justice those who committed the crimes. Her destiny is an especially painful one, since every day in the town she encounters the murderer of her son Jasmin. She witnessed executions, and made a list of over hundred victims from her own neighbourhood of Kolobara. The trouble is, however, that the relevant institutions pay little attention to this, or to the numerous other death lists. Rather than support in her difficult mission, Andjelka faces sanctions at every step of the way, doubtless because she is broaching a subject that is still taboo in Brcko. ‘I demanded all this via Sarajevo TV as long as five years ago, yet not only has no one encouraged me or invited me fora serious discussion, but I’ve even become a victim of quiet reprisals. For example, I support my disabled husband and unemployed son by working in the Brcko market, but ever since people have heard who I am and what I’m up to, nobody will come near my stall. I stand no chance of finding another job, because wherever I try, even if it’s only to do cleaning, they’re always bothered about what this poor woman is demanding, and what she knows.’

Supervisor Clarke should be congratulated on many achievements in the running of Brcko District. But he and his collaborators should finally place the issue of Brcko’s mass graves on the agenda. The silence on this subject has become too loud.


Translated from Dani (Sarajevo), 15 March 2002


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