EXCERPTS... (From pages 1 - 23):
This memorandum presents data collected and checked to date about
the war crimes and crimes of genocide against the Serbian people in
the area of the former commune of Odzak committed by members of
formations and members of the
National Guard of the Republic of Croatia in the period from May 8
to July 15, 1992.
The commune of Odzak is situated in the central part of Bosanska
Posavina. It covers an area of 205 sq.km. which accounts for 0.40%
of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
According to the 1991 census the commune of Odzak had 30,651
inhabitants or 149.5 inhabitants per sq.km. The population comprised
16,598 i.e. 54.15% Croats, 6,084 or 19.85% Serbs, 6,229 or 20.32%
Moslems, 1,133 Yugoslavs or 3.7%, with rest accounting for 607 or
Preparations to do away with the Serbs and provocations designed
to impose war on the Serbs in this part of Bosanska Posavina (Sava
river valley) had started much earlier, especially in 1990, at the
time of the establishment of the Croatian Democratic Union (CDU) as
the national political party of the Croats, formed after the fashion
of the Croatian Democratic Union in Croatia proper, the founder of
which is Franjo Tudjman.
The Croatian Democratic Union in B&H and
in Bosanska Posavina was in terms of programme and methods of
practical day to day politics wholly subordinated to the central
leadership of the CDU in Zagreb and to Franjo Tudjman in person.
The basic plank of the programme and policy of that party is
anti-Yugoslavism, anti-Serbianism, and the clerico-fascist tradition
of the Ustashi movement of Ante Starcevic, Josip Frank and
the Ustashi head (Poglavnik) of the so-called Independent State of
Croatia in WWII. Initially this platform of theirs was hidden behind
their alleged struggle against Communism as an undemocratic system
with, as a propaganda ploy, the Serbs being declared the greatest
obstacle to that struggle...
Commune of Odzak, in WWII was the
staunchest bastion of Ustashiism and fascism. It was precisely
here, in the Odzak area, that the units
of the Yugoslav army ended their liberating operations in WWII, where
an 11,000-strong group of Ustashi and Homeguardsmen (Domobran) fanatics
put up a resistance from April 14 to May 25, 1945, namely 16 days after
the official termination of WWII.
Dyed-in-the-wool Ustashi, true to their ancestors, members of the
CDU in the area of the commune of Odzak started publicly threatening and
psychologically intimidating the local Serbs already in 1990. Provocations
and harassment of Serbs in the villages in the commune of
Odzak started immediately after the establishment of the national
parties of the Croats and Moslems and their promotions at various
events and rallies.
Djoko (Stevo) Goranic from Donja Dubica, 55 years of age, says
the following in his statement referring to that time and those events:
"Fake wedding motorcades passed through the village many times.
Protruding from the passing column of cars were aggressive fingers
showing a V for victory, or hands indicating the motions of throat
slitting so as to openly threaten the people, checkered (Ustashi) flags
were waved, and all kinds of abuse and threats were shouted from them.
Ustashi slogans and Ustashi symbols were drawn on the village road.
Rallying cries and symbols with the same meaning and message were
written and drawn on traffic signs and on fences around Serbian houses.
This was done mainly at night in order to intimidate the Serbs. The
initiatives of the Serbs from Donja Dubica with the communal assembly
in Odzak aimed at peace, and requesting that the authorities deal
with these practices had no result whatsoever".
...Provocations, intimidations and threats continued. Serb
villagers were harassed by abusive phone calls, showered by curses
and threats and Ustashi music in addition.
Parallel with these and similar pressures on the Serbs, which
occurred every day, actions of another kind were undertaken. There
is no doubt whatsoever that everything was organized in conjunction
with the party leadership of the CDU and the state leadership of
the Republic of Croatia. Violence in the night bars, at village
crossroads and in Serbian villages in the Odzak commune region were
designed to spark off and fan tension and psychosis of war with the
chief task of the CDU fanatics, among whom pre-war hooligans and
criminals were the ringleaders, being to ensure that the war from
Croatia spill over to Bosnia as quickly as possible - for the
Moslem potential, with which a political alliance had already been
struck, to be mobilized on an anti-Serbian basis, for conditions
to be created for portions of B&H territory to be occupied by the
National Guard of the Republic of Croatia, and for the Serbian
people to be completely cut off from the mainstream...
The preparations for the aggressive war against the Serbian people,
the establishment of Ustashi - fundamentalist paramilitary formations,
their arming and in particular the associated collusion between the
authorities in the commune of Odzak and the authorities in the Republic
of Croatia are best attested to by the documents published on their
activities by the communal committee of the CDU in Odzak headed by Mijo
Matanovic and the chairman of the "crisis headquarters" of the commune
of Odzak Stipe Ivanovic. The later was also mayor of Odzak.
The U.N. document is accompanied with many documents of
correspondence between the two authorities. It also has many special
permissions to local (Odzak, B&H) CDU officials to visit Croatia
in order to obtain arms and ammo. Also, there are documents that
beg Croatian government to let military experts (that came from
Croatia to train local Croats and Moslems) - to let them stay longer
in the area, etc.
(End of our comment)
... Serb villagers did everything in their power to avoid the daily
provocations of Ustashi-fundamentalist extremists, while their
representatives talked to the communal authorities to try and preserve
peace. However, they did not succeed. The provocations of Ustashi
and fundamentalist extremists escalated at the end of March and the
beginning of April 1992...
... the Serbian population was also worried because it knew that
members of the National Guard of the Republic of Croatia were crossing
the Sava river by boat from the Republic of Croatia.
It became evident
that the Serbs in the area of the commune of Odzak were definitely
surrounded from all sides by Ustashi & fundamentalist paramilitary
formations and regular troops of Croatia.
There were Ustashi barricades on almost all the roads....
The intention to save at least some of the Serbian innocents -
women and children - succeeded inasmuch as some women and children
from Trnjak and Donja Dubica were pulled out trough the Serbian
hamlet of Struke on April 18, 1992.
The grenades which in the evening of April 18 showered Donja
Dubica added to the mounting fear and tention among the Serbian
civilians. On the following day, Rajko Djuric, called "Truman", a
Serb parliementarian from Donja Dubica and organizer of the
evacuation of the civilian population, went to Struke, a Serbian
hamlet of the village of Prud. He wanted to see whether it would
be possible to take the remaining women and children out of the
Ustashi encirclement. He arrived at Struke by car with Boro Rakic,
Stevo Goranovic and Rajko Bozic, but they were ambushed by Ustashi
from Prud and members of the National Guard of the Republic of Croatia.
On that occasion Rajko Djuric was killed, Rajko Bozic severely
wounded and captured, while Stevo Goranovic and Boro Rakic, who
were slightly wounded managed to escape and bring the news of this
Ustashi crime to Donja Dubica.
The killed Rajko Djuric was buried on April 20. On the same day
Milan Rakic, president of the crisis Headquarters of the local (Serbian)
community of Novi Grad, went to Prud for negotiations related to
Djuric's killing. He was accompanied by Bogdan Dragojlovic and his wife
Mileva, Tomislav Krsic and Pero Vladic. None of the five of them came
back that day. They were thaught to have been captured or killed. Only
after the commune of Odzak was liberated by the army of the Republic
of Srpska did we learn that this group of negotiators had been kidnapped
in Prud and taken to the territory of the Republic of Croatia. According
to the words of Mileva Dragojlovic, immediately after they were driven
to Croatia, on April 20, Tomislav (Rajko) Krsic (born 1962) and Pero (Mirko)
Vladic (1970) were taken out of the car and several moments later two
shots were heard, some fifty meters from the car. Krsic and Vladic
were never heard of again...
After everything that transpired the remaining population of Donja
Dubica mustered and found various ways to get to Novi Grad. They
clambered onto tractors, trailers, lorries and passenger cars where they
also loaded what precious possessions they could. In Novi Grad the Serbs
organized a defense. They would not allow themselves to be again the
victims of genocide like the one committed on December 7 and 8, 1944
in the Serb villages of the commune of Odzak, when Pavelic's
slaughtered every living soul in sight in Trnjak and Donja Dubica.
713 men, women and children lost their lives
then only because they were Serbs.
On the line of defense of Novi Grad the defenders withstood Ustashi
pressures until May 8, 1992. The supremacy of the Ustashi forces was
evident. Grenades were fired on Novi Grad every day from the territory
of the Republic of Croatia from the village of Jaruge as well as from
the surrounding Croatian villages in the commune of Odzak. The village
suffered much destruction from the artillery and villagers suffered
heavy casualties. On May 7, 1992, the defenders of Novi Grad were
informed that an agreement had been made with the Ustashi according
to which they should surrender their weapons to the Ustashi after which
all Serbian population including the defenders of Novi Grad would be
evacuated over the Bosna river to the village of Milosevac on free
Serbian territory. Many of the defenders doubted that the Ustashi
would observe this agreement but the orders of the Chrisis Headquarters
from Novi Grad were nevertheless carried out.
The weapons were surrendered in the compound of the "Ratar"
enterprise, located between Novi Grad and Posavska Mahala. Previously,
a line have been made of tractors with trailers, trucks and passenger
vehicles. All of them were loaded with more valuable household effects,
food and clothing. The line was surrounded by large number of Croatian
army and police troops. It moved slowly toward Odzak. The Ustashi
soldiers and police searched the column group by group. In the process
they hit people, especially younger men... The column was very long.
It started from Novi Grad on May 8 at 3pm and arrived at Odzak about
midnight. Namely, it took it nine hours to cover only eight kilometers,
the distance between Novi Grad and Odzak. It was a real ordeal. All the
vehicles carrying their cargo, i.e. the movable property of the Serbian
civilians comprising this long column, were packed at the Odzak cattle
market. The people were then driven into busses after having been
searched again. They were taken to the elementary school in Odzak where
the citizens of Odzak had already formed a gauntlet the Serbs were
forced to run on arrival. They struck the Serbs on their heads and
kicked them with their feet. After this humiliating ordeal the Serbs
were taken to the gym of the elementary school. The school was crammed
full. The Ustashi started making some sort of a register of the
prisoners. According to that first register there were 728 persons
(160 from Donja Dubica and others were Serbs from Novi Grad).
Thus, on May 8, 1992, the Serbs
from the area of the commune of Odzak, instead on free territory,
found themselves in Ustashi concentration camps.
They were deceived and taken hostage and thrown
into the most horrendous prisons one can imagine... the camps had
evidently been set in advance. There were two camps for Serbs in Odzak.
One was in the already mentioned gym of the elementary school and the
other in the "Strolit" enterprise. Men were imprisoned in these camps
while women were held in rooms on the top floor of the elementary
After the army of the Republic of Serbska liberated the area of
Odzak, the Ustashi, who were retreating, deported the remaining
inmates from Odzak to camps in Bosanski Brod... ...After Bosanski Brod
was liberated,... all inmates were taken to Slavonski Brod (Croatia)
and then deported to Ustashi camps in Orasje and Donja Mahala. Some
of them were exchanged for captured Ustashi combatants in various
intervals, and others remained struggling for survival in the inhumane
camp conditions. Many of them are still in Ustashi camps in the Republic
of Croatia, in Orasje and Donja Mahala and many have left their bones
in these awful camps after horrible torture.