Flowers were laid on Tuesday at the Kameni Spavac memorial in Zenica in central Bosnia to commemorate an attack on April 19, 1993 in which 15 civilians were killed and more than 50 others injured.
“Around noon that day, projectiles fired at the Zenica downtown area from Puticevo, 16 kilometres west of Zenica, killed or injured a number of civilians,” said Vernes Menzilovic, president of the Commission for Marking Significant Dates, Figures and Events in Zenica.
The Hague Tribunal’s indictment of Croatian Defence Council, HVO general Tihomir Blaskic for the attack said that the shells “hit very busy parts of town, such as the shopping district and the municipal market – moreover at a peak time”.
Blaskic was acquitted of the Zenica attack because the prosecution could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that HVO forces and other fighters subordinate to the accused carried out the shelling.
The youngest victim of the 1993 attack was 13-year-old Nehrudin Trako.
“On that day, shells were falling and Nehrudin was playing outside. I heard news on the radio that many people were injured and killed in the shelling,” the boy’s father Nezir Trako recalled.
“I looked for him around the city, I walked from one institution to another. Only after not being allowed to enter the morgue, I found out what had happened to Nehrudin,” he said.
The shelling was mentioned in the Hague Tribunal’s indictment of HVO officers Dario Kordic and Mario Cerkez, and the verdict cited an expert witness who determined that “the HVO fired the projectiles at the radio station [in Zenica], missed and hit the market place – which resulted in death and destruction”.
However, the court did not conclude that Kordic was involved in the shelling of Zenica. Blaskic, Kordic and Cerkez were all convicted of other wartime crimes.
The Zenica-Doboj Cantonal Prosecution has said that there are still open cases related to the shelling in April 1993, but they have been classified as “crimes by an unknown perpetrator”.