Čemerno massacre

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Čemerno massacre
Location Čemerno, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Date 10 June 1992 (Central European Time)
Target Serbs
Attack type
Mass Killing
Deaths 29–32
Suspected perpetrators
Motive Removing the presence of the VRS from the area.

The Čemerno massacre refers to the massacre of the Serbs of the village of Čemerno, in the Ilijaš Municipality, near Sarajevo, on 10 June 1992,[1] during the Bosnian War.[2][3]

Some sources state that the attack was carried out by the members of the 304th Mountain Brigade of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Breza and were commanded by the war time mayor of the municipality Salko Opačin, the head of the police department Meho Kulić and others. The main reason for the massacre as stated by the Bosniaks was that the village of Čemerno was the place from were the town of Breza was shield by artillery but at the same time it was a village inhabited by civilians.[4]

Immediately after the incident, one of the survivors was recorded by British television. According to his testimony, the attack had been carried out by Croats,[2] while another eyewitness later also mentioned the Bosniaks which was proved to be more accurate than the first report.[5] Although later reports attributed it to Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina[3][6] and "Muslim armed forces",[7] the original indictment filed on 17 July 1992 mentions six individual Croatian persons.[1] These indictments were also immediately published in Serbian media.[8] The investigation was stalled and an attempt at their retrieval in 2005 by a media outlet was unsuccessful.[9] By 2007, the County Prosecutor of Istočno Sarajevo claimed that the police had filed a full report in 2006, and that their investigation was being completed.[5] Another news report mentions that a Muslim prisoner of war (captured later in the war) had confessed to participating in the killing and named several others.[9]

According to different media information, either 29,[10] 31[6] or 32[7] Serbs (military and civilians) were murdered. Evidence includes a video recording made at the site of the crime, which contains testimonies by one Petar Rašević[5] and a surviving member of the Trifković family.[10] According to the initial reports, those killed included 7 children.[2]

Some sources state that the attack was carried out by the members of the 304th Mountain Brigade of the Army of the Reoublic of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Breza and were commanded by the war time mayor of the municipality Salko Opačin, the head of the police department Meho Kulić and others.

As contradictory data appeared in the media, and the event has not passed a court validation yet, the full course of the case is unknown.

The houses and other belongings and property were plundered and burned.[8][9] Three villagers who heard the attack and the cries of the victims were able to escape from their houses.[5] Media reports include the names of at least two elderly women whose bodies were burned.[5][11]

Republika Srpska media states that the Bosnian Army stole 1,500 sheep and 100 heads of cattle.[11] Republika Srpska's Ministry of Internal Affairs has stated that 15 soldiers (3 in command, 12 perpetrators) were involved in the massacre.[5]

In 1999, 30 bodies were exhumed from a mass grave in Čemerno by the Republika Srpska Commission for Searching Missing Individuals. As some were burned, the head of the commission's operating team, Slobodan Škrba, stated that not all bodies will be found. Forensic analysis of the exhumed victims showed that they were violently murdered, mostly with heavy objects. In accordance with the wishes of the families, the remains were re-buried at the Military cemetery in Sokolac.[5][12]

In 2009, Mr. Škrba said that 49 Serb bodies have been exhumed in the area of Čemerno altogether.[13]

None of the houses destroyed in the attack have been rebuilt, and Čemerno is now uninhabited.[6][7]

On 22 September 2007, representatives of the Organization of Families of the Captured and Killed from East Sarajevo unveiled a monument to the victims in Čemerno.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Bošnjaci i Hrvati osumnjičeni za zločine počinjene nad Srbima u Bosni i Hercegovini (37)". Glas javnosti. 2007-08-10. Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  2. ^ a b c Michael T. Kaufman (1992-06-14). "Effects of War Come Home to Belgrade". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-06-12. Serbian anger was stoked most recently by the broadcast and frequent rebroadcast of British television tape showing the bodies of some of the 29 Serb civilians, including 7 children, who were killed Wednesday in the Bosnian village of Cemerno. The televised segment included the testimony of a single survivor who said the attack had been carried out by Croats and Bosniaks. 
  3. ^ a b c "Spomenploča za 31 ubijenog civila". Nezavisne novine. 2007-09-23. Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  4. ^ Killing of Serbs in the village of Čemerno. "Bosniak army carried out the attack". http://www.glassrpske.com/novosti/vijesti_dana/Za-ubistvo-30-Srba-jos-nema-optuznica/lat/8366.html. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Svedok zločina oslepeo od stresa i straha". Politika. 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  6. ^ a b c "Spomen-ploča za nastradale". Glas javnosti. SRNA - Novinska agencija Republike Srpske. 2007-09-24. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  7. ^ a b c "Čemerno danas jadno i čemerno". Dan. 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  8. ^ a b "FRY Memorandum on Croatian Involvement in B-H (Politika 17 Jun 92 p 4, via Tanjug)". JPRS Report - East Europe. Defense Technical Information Center. 27 July 1992. Retrieved 2010-06-12. The most recent large-scale atrocities against the Serbian population were committed in the village Cemerno, Ilijas Opstina, not far from Sarajevo, when the civilian population, including women, children, and the elderly, were massacred in the most bestial way. Houses and other belongings and property acquired during years of work and life have been plundered and burned 
  9. ^ a b c "Čemerno: Unpunished Crime". Novi Reporter (119). 2005-06-22. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  10. ^ a b Federal Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1992). "Report submitted to the commission of experts established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 780 (1992)". Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  11. ^ a b Radio Televizija Republike Srpske (2007-06-10). "Godišnjica zločina u Čemernu". cafe.ba. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  12. ^ "Pravda predugo na čekanju". Večernje novosti. 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  13. ^ "Parastos za 32 ubijena civila". Glas Srpske. 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 

See also[edit]