Memorial service was served, candles were lit and wreaths were laid at the Memorial Cross in Janjila near Bosanski Petrovac on Wednesday for the Serbs killed in a refugee convoy withdrawing from Republika Srpska Krajina following the bombing carried out by the Croatian Air Force during Operation Storm in 1995.
Head of the Veritas Documentation and Information Centre Savo Štrbac said after the memorial service held in Janjila that the place should become a pilgrimage place in order to never be forgotten, as ten people, including four children and a 21-year-old were killed within seconds.
“A chapel should be built next to this memorial cross to give more significance to this pilgrimage place under the motto – ‘Never Forget’,” Štrbac told SRNA.
He reminded that no one had been held responsible for the crimes committed by Croatian forces against Serbs 24 years after the operation.
“The Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, despite commemorating these anniversaries, is constantly replying that the investigation into this crime is still ongoing. We know what the problem is; they are waiting for Croatia to send them in writing the names of the pilot who operated `MiG 21′ fighter, which will never happen,” says Štrbac.
He says the Veritas has been collecting documentation on the crime so that the victims’ families could address directly the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which can hand down judgments to compensate them for mental anguish over the loss of relatives and siblings if it is proved that Croatia and BiH have not done everything in their power to detect and prosecute the perpetrators.
After the memorial service held by the priests of the Diocese of Bihać-Petrovac, the wreaths were laid at the memorial cross on the Petrovac Road by the families of the killed, the Veritas delegation, the mayors of the municipalities of Drinić, Bosanski Petrovac and Donji Lapac, representatives of the Serb National Council Croatia and the Association “Against Oblivion”.
Attendees of the 24th commemoration marking the suffering of Serbs on Petrovac Road visited the Drinić municipality and a memorial room dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the Republika Srpska Army in this municipality.
An aircraft of the Croatian Air Force “MiG 21” bombed a refugee convoy of Serbs withdrawing from Republika Srpska Krajina on the Petrovac Road, between Bosanski Petrovac and Ključ, on August 7, 1995.
Ten civilians were killed on that occasion, including four children and a 21-year-old woman, and about 50 people were injured.
Darinka Drča /1927/ and her grandchildren Jovica Drča /1989/ and Mirjana Dubajić /1974/ all from Brotinja near Donji Lapac, Nevenka /1984/ and Žarko /1986/, the children of Spaso Rajić from Donji Lapac, Krstan Vuković /1951/ born in Han Kula near Banjaluka and his son Darko /1972/ born in Bihać, both living in Donji Lapac, Branko Stjelja /1923/ and his son Mirko /1961/ from Nadin near Benkovac were killed on that occassion.
Operation Storm is the largest and one of the most brutal ethnic cleansing in the territory of the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s.
According to the Commissariat for Refugees of Serbia, 250,000 Serbs were expelled from Republika Srpska Krajina, 1,856 were killed and 836 are reported missing during Operation Storm.
The operation began on August 4, 1995 with the offensive carried out by the Croatian army and police in the areas of Banija, Lika, Kordun and north Dalmatia, respectively, Republika Srpska Krajina.