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Erdut massacre

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Erdut massacre

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Erdut
Erdut on the map of Croatia, 1991/1992. Serbian-held territories are highlighted in red.

After the town of Erdut was forcefully taken over by the Serb Volunteer Guard and JNA[1] and annexed to the puppet state of Republic of Serbian Krajina during Croatian War of Independence, Croats and other non-Serbs were either expelled or killed, with Serbs repopulating empty villages in the area.[2] From November 1991 until February 1992, there was a series of murders that took the lives of 37 civilians in total.[3]

Additionally, the Territorial Defence training centre in Erdut, also referred to as "Arkan’s" military base,[4] held approximately fifty-two detainees.[3] According to the two indictments by International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) relating to the cases of Slobodan Milošević and Goran Hadžić, about 2,500 people were deported from Erdut in 1991.[3][5]

First wave of murders

According to the ICTY indictment, the first incident took place in November 1991:

On 9 November 1991, members of the TO of the SAO SBWS led by Željko Ražnatović and members of the Militia of the SAO SBWS arrested ethnic Hungarian and Croat civilians in Erdut, Dalj Planina, and Erdut Planina and took them to the training centre of the TO in Erdut where 12 of them were shot dead the following day. Several days after 9 November 1991, members of the Serb National Security (Srpska Nacionalna Bezbednost, SNB) of the SAO SBWS in co-operation with several members of "Arkan’s Tigers" arrested and executed 3 civilians, two of them family members of the original Hungarian victims who had inquired about the fate of their relatives. The bodies of eight of the initial twelve victims were buried in the village of Ćelija and one victim was buried in Daljski Atar. The bodies of the three additional victims were thrown in a well in Borovo. On 3 June 1992, members of the SNB, in co-operation with members of "Arkan’s Tigers", arrested Marija Senasi (born 1937), a female family member of the original Hungarian victims who had continued to make inquiries about the fate of her relatives. This woman was subsequently murdered and her body was thrown into an abandoned well in Dalj Planina.[3]

Second wave of murders

The ICTY indictment states the following:

On 11 November 1991, members of the TO of SAO SBWS, under the command of Željko Ražnatović, arrested seven non-Serb civilians in the village of Klisa. Two of the detainees who had Serb relatives were released. The remaining 5 civilians were taken to the TO training centre in Erdut. After their interrogation, the victims were killed and buried in a mass grave in the village of Ćelija.[3]

Third wave of murders

The ICTY indictment states the following:

On 10 December 1991, members of the TO of the SAO SBWS led by Željko Ražnatović and members of the Militia of the SAO SBWS arrested 5 non-Serb villagers from Erdut. The victims were taken to the TO training centre in Erdut and subsequently killed. The bodies of three of the victims were later disposed of in a well in Daljski Atar.[3]

Fourth wave of murders

The ICTY indictment states the following:

From 22 December 1991 to 25 December 1991, members of the TO of the SAO SBWS led by Željko Ražnatović and members of the Militia of the SAO SBWS arrested 7 ethnic Hungarian and Croat civilians in Erdut and took them to the TO training centre in Erdut. On 26 December 1991, they were shot and killed. The bodies of six of the victims were buried in Daljski Atar.[3]

Fifth wave of murders

The ICTY indictment states the following:

On 21 February 1992, members of the TO of the SAO SBWS led by Željko Ražnatović and members of the Militia of the SAO SBWS arrested 4 non-Serb civilians in Erdut. All of the victims were interrogated in the Territorial Defence training centre in Erdut and then killed. The bodies of the victims were buried in a mass grave in Daljski Atar.[3]

Legal proceedings

For the crimes in Erdut, including murder, wanton destruction and illegal imprisonment, the ICTY indicted Goran Hadžić,[5] Slobodan Milosevic,[3] Željko Ražnatović,[6] Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic.[7]

In 2003, witness B129, a former secretary of Ražnatović, testified at the Haague, confirming that the paramilitary leader of the Yugoslav Wars took his orders, and his money, directly from the secret police run by Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian leader. The former secretary described how Ražnatović and his men operated under the direct command of Milosevic's chiefs of state security, or secret police, Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic. She visited the "Tigers" camp in Erdut. The Erdut camp, at different times, had up to 1,000 men. They used two types of uniforms, green in the daytime, black clothes and ski masks at night.[8]

See also

References

Coordinates: 45°32′N 19°04′E / 45.533°N 19.067°E / 45.533; 19.067

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