16 Years Since the Medak Pocket MassacreSep 9th, 2009 | By De-Construct.net | In Croatia, Current, Earlier
“Destruction was well organized, systematic and total. Homes were reduced to rubble by detonations and dead livestock littered the area”, UNPROFOR spokeswoman Shannon Boyd about the Medak Pocket massacre. Photos available here
“This is a Serb Village, Slit All Throats!”
September 9 marks 16 years since the massacre Croat forces committed in the villages and hamlets south and southeast from the town Gospić in Serbian Krajina, called Medak Pocket (Medački Džep) — a UN safe haven — mutilating, raping, setting on fire and killing 88 Serbs. Memorial services to the victims were held throughout Serbian lands, and in the Church of Saint Mark in Belgrade.
Marking the event, Documentation Center Veritas reminded Croats left no wounded behind in the Serb-populated villages.
The only survivor, Ivanka Rajčević, gave a following testimony:
“My son and I were asleep in the house. It was around 6 a.m. when the first grenade hit one of the houses which immediately burst into flames. I called my son. He said: ‘Mam, we won’t leave the house because they are bombarding’.
“I heard one Ustasha circling around the house. He came to the window and saw me inside. He activated a hand grenade and threw it inside. When it exploded he stood back up to see if it killed me. I was only wounded, but I pretended to be dead. He went behind the house and fired an automatic rifle (…) The other ones came in front of the house afterwords, in a transporter and on the tank. They didn’t stay long, but four Ustasha stayed in front of the doors. They did not speak our language, I believe they spoke German [they probably spoke Dutch, another Germanic language, as it was established that 13 Dutchmen also took part in the massacre]. When two Ustasha joined them, they asked the interpreter to translate. He said: ‘This is a Serb village, slit all throats, even the cats! Kill everything, nothing must stay behind, including children.’
“A number of them wearing the black masks arrived, some thirty of them, maybe more. When they spread through the village I went to the other room to see if my son came back. He wasn’t there. I went out of the house so they wouldn’t burn me alive. I crawled through the fence hedges to escape. Inside one thick hedge I bandaged the wound and stayed there all night and during the next day…”
No Sign of Human or Animal Life
After the massacre, Croat forces handed over to Serbs 52 corpses. Members of the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) serving in Croatia carried another 18 bodies, which were mutilated and set on fire, out of Medak Pocket. In the year 2000, 11 bodies were found hidden in the sewage pit.
Croat troops, aided by the Croat civilians from the region, plundered and then razed to the ground all three Medak Pocket villages — Divoselo, Čitluk and Počitelj and dozens of nearby hamlets, following the “scorched earth” policy of the Croat war leaders.
Of the 84 bodies found, 8 remain unidentified, while the remains of 4 of the Medak Pocket villagers are still being searched for.
Following the slaughter, which lasted from 9-17 September 1993, UN commander in Croatia French General Jean Cot, said that French and Canadian UN battalions “could not prevent the slaughter of the Serbs, including elderly and children, by the Croatians”, testifying that Croat troops “didn’t leave a cat alive” in Medak Pocket.
In the UNPROFOR Press Release published on 19 September 1993, General Cot made a following note: “I have found no sign of human or animal life in the several villages we passed today. The destruction is total, systematic and deliberate.”
UNPROFOR spokeswoman Shannon Boyd issued a press release in the Croatian capital Zagreb on September 18, 1993, in which she said: “UNPROFOR troops found at least 11 hamlets in the Medak Pocket completely destroyed [...] It was assessed that the destruction was well organized, systematic and total. Homes were reduced to rubble by detonations and dead livestock littered the area.”
“The girls had been raped. Then shot. Then set on fire.”
Canadian troops testified that “all livestock had been killed and houses torched”.
Canadian peacekeeper Tony Spiess was one of many Canada’s soldiers who suffered nightmares after witnessing the devastation left by the savage Croat troops.
“The Croatian militia had been trying to keep the Canadian troops from uncovering their ethnic cleansing of a Serbian village, Spiess says, confirming accounts recreated in the 2004 book by Carol Off, titled The Ghosts of Medak Pocket: The Story of Canada’s Secret War.
“When the shooting, bombing and mayhem were finally over at Medak Pocket — with no Canadian deaths — one of the things Spiess remembers most was the odour of death, everything from horses to humans.
“The smell will never go away,” he said.
“As Spiess and his Canadian comrades walked into the destroyed Serbian village that the Croatians had tried to stop them from seeing, burning corpses were everywhere.
“Spiess perhaps most vividly remembers the bodies of two teenage Serbian girls hanging limp on chairs, their arms tied to the chairs behind their backs.
“They were still smoldering,” Spiess said. “It was total f—in’ devastation.”
“A chill sets in as he speaks.
“The girls had been raped. Then shot. Then set on fire.”
Epilogue: One Man Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison. That’s All, Move Along.
NATO court in Hague issued indictments against three Croat generals for Medak Pocket massacre. Kosovo Albanian Rahim Ademi and Croats Janko Bobetko and Mirko Norac were charged with crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and rules of war. Agim Ceku, another Kosovo Albanian butcher, was commanding the Croat troops which massacred Medak Pocket Serbs. He was never indicted for the committed war crimes. Instead, he was awarded the premiership in the transitional Kosovo province government under the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) administration.
According to the indictment, Croat civilians and troops “systematically plundered” the Serb populated villages and hamlets during and after the assault by the Croat armed forces, “removed personal goods such as electrical goods and furniture from buildings that were or about to be destroyed, removed animals and farm equipment, dismantled buildings and carried parts thereof away by truck”, they “systematically destroyed up to 164 homes and approximately 148 other buildings (and the contents thereof) by the use of explosives and fire”.
Hague’s chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte asserted that, during a week-long bloody orgy, Croat troops were mutilating and killing Serb villagers “by means of shooting, stabbing, cutting of fingers, severe beatings with rifle butts, burning with cigarettes, jumping on bodies, tying bodies to a car and dragging them along the road, mutilation and other forms of mistreatment”.
To illustrate the unparalleled cruelty of Croat troops, the Hague indictment emphasized the case of two women: Boja Pjevač, who was mutilated and then had her body desecrated, and Boja Vujanović who was burned alive “whilst being mocked”.
But there was no Hague trial to the Croat generals who led the pogrom against the Medak Pocket Serbs.
In September 2005 the Hague Council transferred the Medak Pocket case to Croatian judiciary, which promptly acquitted Rahim Ademi and sentenced Mirko Norac to an insultingly mild punishment — 7 years in prison, thus closing the books on Medak Pocket massacre.
One man sentenced to seven years imprisonment for three villages and eleven hamlets razed to the ground, 88 innocent lives taken in the most monstrous ways and the complete and total extermination of the Serb population in the region.
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