The director of the Republika Srpska Centre for the Research of War and War Crimes and the Search for Missing Persons, Milorad Kojic, said that by way of institutional creation of culture of remembrance, clear and unambiguous answers to everything that was happening in the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia should be left to future generations, not forgetting the historical context which preceded the bloody dissolution of the then joint state.
At an academy titled “Every Child – Heaven on Earth” – a central event of the Days of Remembrance event dedicated to the sufferings of children in the wars in the 20th century, he said that last year, when the Days of Remembrance event was organized for the first time, the Center was led by an idea that the one who controls the past, also controls the present and projects a future to future generations.
“In the nightmare of wars, numerous and grave crimes were committed. Many of them went unpunished, no one is held accountable. Almost everything is known about some of them, some are mentioned occasionally, and some are completely forgotten, including those the most horrific, the most painful, those committed against children,” Kojic has said.
He has added that in the year when the 100th anniversary of the Great War is being marked, the Center will remember the sufferings of Serbian children in BiH.
He has said that out of 17 great trials for high treason, four were conducted against high school students and added that there was a camp which held thousands of women and children in Doboj during the rule of Austro-Hungary, about which many people do not know.
“However, the NDH went the furthest. It inscribed itself in the history of humankind as the state which during the greatest world conflict in history had special concentration camps for children – Gornja Rijeka, Jastrebarsko and Sisak! In addition to murders, inhuman conditions under which they died, a special characteristic of this system was the attempt to change their identity,” Kojic has said.
He has said that there were numerous examples in the past patriotic-defense war of that which so-called humans can do and that children suffered in horrible ways throughout BiH.
“Their lives were taken during innocent children’s play, in refugee convoys, in the shelling, at doorsteps. We will talk about all of them this evening. We will remember Mira without a number, Rada No. 1502, 5-year-old Petar, blond Jane Doe ‘Desa’, a boy with pearls, little girl Nada whose parents are unknown, a boy No. 10 and other Kozara children from the lot No. 142, nameless children from a monstrous diary in which children were a mere statistics,” Kojic has said.
He has said that children from Kragujevac, Drakulici, Motike, Ledic, Slobodan of Zvornik, two-year-old baby girl Danka of Josanica, little girl Mirjana, Petar and Pavle Golubovic, Banjaluka little stars, little girl Milica Rakic, and other children, will not be forgotten either.
“We should remember them, talk about them and never forget them,” Kojic has said and added that it was very hard during preparations for this memorial Academy.
He says that, unfortunately, there are too many documents, testimonies. “We all who are doing this job, at some point struggle to hold back tears over these children’s sufferings, their faces in the photographs – before and after,” Kojic has said.
“It is our intention to send a message of life and love from this place, since those to whom we dedicated this memorial Academy, and those who will recall them to our memories by their singing, are our heaven on Earth,” Kojic has said.
Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik, who is the sponsor of the event, Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic, Cabinet ministers, MPs, the Republika Srpska member of the BiH Presidency, Mladen Ivanic, are attending the Academy in the Cultural Center Banski Dvor.
Also in attendance are His Eminence the Bishop of Banjaluka, Jefrem, the consul general of Serbia in Banjaluka, Vladimir Nikolic, the president of the Jewish Cultural Center in Banjaluka, Arie Livne, representatives of NGOs, descendants of victims, and other renowned figures.