Doljani massacre

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Doljani massacre
Location the villages of Doljani and Sovići, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Date 17 April 1993
Target Bosniaks
Perpetrators Croatian Defence Council (HVO), Croatian Army (HV)

The Doljani massacre also known as the Sovići massacre was a war crime committed on Bosniaks by Croatian Defence Forces (HVO) on 17 April 1993, and afterwards in the villages of Doljani and Sovići.[1]

According to ICTY judgment in Naletilić-Martinović case Croat forces attacked the villages of Doljani and Sovići, about 50 kilometers north of Mostar in the morning on April 17, 1993. The attack was part of a larger Croatian Defence Forces offensive aimed at taking Jablanica, the main Bosnian Muslim dominated town in the area. The HVO commanders had calculated that they needed two days to take Jablanica. The location of Sovići was of strategic significance for the HVO as it was on the way to Jablanica. For the Bosnian Army it was a gateway to the plateau of Risovac, which could create conditions for further progression towards the Adriatic coast.[2]

The larger HVO offensive on Jablanica had already started on April 15, 1993. The artillery destroyed the upper part of Sovići. The Bosnian Army fought back, but at about 5 p.m., the Bosnian Army commander in Sovići surrendered, along with pproximately 70 to 75 soldiers. Also, at least 400 Bosnian Muslim civilians were detained and the HVO's advance towards Jablanica was halted after a cease-fire agreement had been negotiated.[2]

A number of captured Bosniaks were tortured and killed by Kažnjenička Bojna, a unit known by its cruelty against Bosniaks. It was commanded by Mladen Naletilić "Tuta". Those who were not killed were transported to the Heliodrom concentration camp [3] or other camps such as the one in Ljubuški.[4] According to the Croatian Archive that was used in ICTY trials, after the conflict stopped all Bosnian-Muslim houses were burned and two mosques were torn down in accordance with the orders that the Croatian forces received from their commanders.[5]

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