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Foca Panorama.JPG
Foca Sveta Sava IMG 0701.JPG
Амбијентална цјелина Ћерезлук, Фоча 023.JPG
Coat of arms of Foča
Coat of arms
Location of Foča within Bosnia and Herzegovina
Location of Foča within Bosnia and Herzegovina
Foča is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Location of Foča within Bosnia and Herzegovina
Coordinates: 43°30′23″N 18°46′29″E / 43.50639°N 18.77472°E / 43.50639; 18.77472Coordinates: 43°30′23″N 18°46′29″E / 43.50639°N 18.77472°E / 43.50639; 18.77472
Country Bosnia and Herzegovina
Entity Republika Srpska
 • MayorRadislav Mašić (SDS)
 • Municipality1,134.58 km2 (438.06 sq mi)
(2013 census)
 • Town
 • Municipality
 • Municipality density16/km2 (42/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Area code(s)58

Foča (Serbian Cyrillic: Фоча, pronounced [fôtʃa]) is a town and a municipality located in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is situated on the banks of Drina river. As of 2013, the town has a population of 12,234 inhabitants, while the municipality has 18,288 inhabitants.


The old clock tower of Foča

Early history[edit]

The town was known as Hotča during medieval times. It was then known as a trading centre on route between Ragusa (now Dubrovnik) and Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey). With Gornje Podrinje Foča was part of the old Serbian State up to 1376, when it was attached to the Bosnian State under the reign of King Tvrtko. After Tvrtko's death the town was ruled by the Hum Dukes among whom the best known was Herzog Stjepan. Foča was the seat of the Ottoman Sanjak of Herzegovina established in 1470, until 1572, when it was moved to Pljevlja.

World War II[edit]

In 1941, the Ustaše killed the leading Serbs in Foča.[1] Between December 1941 and January 1942 over two thousand Bosnian Muslims were killed in Foča by the Chetniks.[2] Additional Chetnik massacres in Foča took place in August 1942.[2]

On 13 February 1943, Pavle Đurišić reported to Draža Mihailović the actions undertaken by the Chetniks in the Foča, Pljevlja, and Čajniče districts: "All Muslim villages in the three mentioned districts were totally burned so that not a single home remained in one piece. All property was destroyed except cattle, corn, and senna."[3]

Furthermore, "During the operation the total destruction of the Muslim inhabitants was carried out regardless of sex and age."[3] In the operation Chetnik losses "were 22 dead, of which 2 through accidents, and 32 wounded. Among the Muslims, around 1,200 fighters and up to 8,000 other victims: women, old people, and children."[3] Đurišić said what remained of the Muslim population fled and that actions were taken to prevent their return.[3] The municipality is also the site of the legendary Battle of Sutjeska between the Tito's Yugoslav Partisans and the German army. A monument to the Partisans killed in the battle was erected in the village of Tjentište.

Bosnian War and after[edit]

Mehmed Pasha Kukavica Mosque was blown up on 28 May 1992. During the war, all of the mosques of Foča were destroyed.

In 1992, the city came under the control of Serbian paramilitaries. Most of the Bosniaks were expelled from the area.[4] Foča was also the site of a rape camp in the Partizan hall which was set up by the Republika Srpska authorities in which hundreds of Bosniak women were raped.[5]

Once the Serb forces cleared Eastern Bosnia of much of its Bosniak civilian population, the towns and villages were securely in their hands. All of the Serb forces (i.e. the military, police, paramilitaries and sometimes, villagers too) applied the same pattern: houses and apartments of the expelled population were systematically ransacked or burnt down; remaining members of the Bosniak civilian population were rounded up or captured, and sometimes beaten or killed in the process.[6] 13 mosques including the Aladža Mosque were destroyed and the 22,500 Muslims who made up the majority of inhabitants fled.[7]

Only about 10 Muslims remained at the end of the conflict.[6] The Tribunal Judges determined beyond a reasonable doubt that the purpose of the Serb campaign in Foča was, among others, "to cleanse the Foča area of Muslims" and concluded that "to that end the campaign was successful.[6]

Men and women were separated, with many of the men detained in the camps. The women were kept in various detention centres where they had to live in intolerably unhygienic conditions, and where they were mistreated in many ways including being raped repeatedly. Serb soldiers or policemen would come to these detention centres, select one or more women, take them out and rape them.[8] Years later at the ICTY, the former Bosnian Serb leader and Republika Srpska president Biljana Plavšić confirmed under a plea bargain the occurrence of these mass rapes in Foča during the war.[9]

In its judgement re Serb soldier Novislav Đajić the Bavarian Appeals Chamber found that acts of genocide were committed in June 1992 within the administrative district of Foča.[10]

In 1995 the Dayton Agreement created a territorial corridor linking the once-besieged Bosnian city of Goražde to the Muslim-Croat Federation; as a consequence, the northern part of Foča was separated to create the city of Foča-Ustikolina.[citation needed]

The city was renamed Srbinje , "place of the Serbs" (from Srbi Serbs and -nje which is a Slavic locative suffix). In 2004, the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared the name change unconstitutional, and reverted it to Foča, until the National Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina passes an appropriate law.[citation needed]

In October 2004 members of the Association of Women Victims of War (Udruzenje Žene-Žrtve Rata) attempted to lay a plaque in front of the Partizan sports hall to commemorate the terrible crimes that occurred there. Hundreds of Bosnian Serb protestors prevented them from doing so.[4][6]

Since the war around 4,000 Muslims have returned to their homes and several mosques have been re-built.[7] This has taken place largely due to the administration of Zdravko Krsmanović, who was mayor from 2004 to 2012 and took a pointed stance of opposition to much of the Serbian nationalist establishment within the Republika Srpska.[11][12]

In the 2012 elections, however, Krsmanović was defeated and a new mayor, Radisava Mašić, was elected with support of the nationalist parties SDS and SNSD.[citation needed]


Aside from the town of Foča, the municipality includes the following settlements:


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.

According to the 2013 census results, the municipality of Foča has 18,288 inhabitants.

Ethnic groups[edit]


48,741 total


According to the 1991 census Foča municipality had a total population of 40,513. The ethnic distribution was:

  • Bosniaks 20,898 (51.58%)
  • Serbs 18,339 (45.27%)
  • Yugoslavs 448 (1.11%)
  • Croats 104 (0.26%)
  • others 73

The town of Foča itself had a total population of 16,628, including:

  • Serbs 8,713 (52.39%)
  • Bosniaks 7,029 (42.27%)
  • Others 886 (5.34%)
Religions in Foca
Religion Percent
Bosnian Muslims
Bosnian Croats
Bosnian Serbs

18,288 total


The following table gives a preview of total number of registred employed people per their core activity (as of 2016):[14]

Activity Total
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 272
Mining and quarrying 25
Manufacturing 190
Distribution of power, gas, steam and air-conditioning 68
Distribution of water and water waste management 77
Construction 120
Wholesale and retail, repair 362
Transportation and storage 162
Hotels and restaurants 155
Information and communication 51
Finance and insurance 38
Real estate activities -
Professional, scientific and technical activities 48
Administrative and support services 8
Public administration and defence 633
Education 490
Healthcare and social work 565
Art, entertainment and recreation 130
Other service activities 41
Total 3,439


Foča houses some faculties (including the Medical and Orthodox Theological Faculty of Saint Basil of Ostrog.) from the Istočno Sarajevo University.

It is also home to one of seven seminaries in the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Seminary of Saint Peter of Sarajevo and Dabar-Bosna. Foča was also, until 1992, the home of one of Bosnia's most important Islamic high schools, the Madrassa of Mehmed-paša.

Sutjeska which is the oldest National Park in Bosnia and Herzegovina is located in the municipality.

Twin towns - sister cities[edit]

Foča is twinned with:

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stenton, Michael (2000). Radio London and Resistance in Occupied Europe: British Political Warfare 1939-1943. Oxford University Press. p. 327. ISBN 0-19-820843-X.
  2. ^ a b Tomasevich, Jozo (1975). War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: The. Stanford University Press. p. 258. ISBN 0-8047-0857-6.
  3. ^ a b c d Hoare, Marko Attila (2006). Genocide and Resistance in Hitler's Bosnia: The Partisans and the Chetniks. Oxford University Press. pp. 331–32. ISBN 0-19-726380-1.
  4. ^ a b "Bosnian Serbs reject rape plaque". BBC News. 1 October 2004.
  5. ^ "Rape as a Crime Against Humanity". Archived from the original on January 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
  6. ^ a b c d "Facts about Foča" (PDF). International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
  7. ^ a b Charter, David (28 May 2009). "World Agenda: US hopes for Bosnia rest on town mayor's shoulders". London, UK: The Times.
  8. ^ "Dragan Zelenović Case Information Sheet" (PDF). International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
  9. ^ Comiteau, Lauren (3 October 2002). "Fighting Over History". Time.
  10. ^ "Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstić Judgment" (PDF). International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 2 August 2001. The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, in the Nikola Jorgic case, upheld the Judgement of the Düsseldorf Supreme Court, interpreting the intent to destroy the group “in part” as including the intention to destroy a group within a limited geographical area. In a Judgement against Novislav Djajic on 23 May 1997, the Bavarian Appeals Chamber similarly found that acts of genocide were committed in June 1992 though confined within the administrative district of Foca.
  11. ^ "Lone preacher: the Serb mayor who is trying to heal Bosnia's scars of war". London: The Telegraph. 1 August 2010.
  12. ^ "Foca, Bosnia – Once a Haven for War Criminals, Now for Tourists?". PBS. 10 October 2011.
  13. ^ "Popis 2013 BiH".
  14. ^ "Cities and Municipalities of Republika Srpska 2017" (PDF). (in Serbian). December 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2018.

External links[edit]