Sarajevo, June 13, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Mladen Dragojlovic
Kazani, the almost vertical cave on the mount Trebevic in Sarajevo, was almost unknown before the last war in BiH. It was just the place where hikers were coming on their way to the top of Trebevic. But, this place became one of the most horrifying places for Sarajevo Serbs. The number of them who were ritually killed by beheading by members of the Army of the Republic of BiH (ARBiH), is still unknown. More than 30 decapitated bodies have been exhumed from the cave and all of them are Serbs.
During the war, Kazani was near the frontline between the predominantly Muslim Army of the Republic of BiH and the Army of the Republic of Srpska, with almost 100 percent Serbs. The warlord who ruled in this part of Sarajevo was Musan Topalovic Caco, who was killed as a rebel against the top of ARBiH in November 1993. His unit, the 10th mountain brigade, was known as one of the most brutal unit in Sarajevo. A small number of Serbs who didn’t want to leave their homes in Sarajevo, were under permanent torture and still an unknown number of them was taken on Kazani and brutally murdered. After the war, the Bosniak (Muslim) leaders first refused to admit the existence of Kazani but later had to sentence several members of his Brigade for these murders. In fact, the murders on this place had to wait a long time until the Bosinak leaders named them “war crimes”. For them, these crimes were just brutal murders. Almost 20 years after killings at this place, the first officials from Sarajevo came to this place to pay respect to the Serb victims. Significantly, the president of Democratic Action Party (SDA), Chairman of the BiH Presidency and son of Alija Izetbegovic, war president of Republic of BiH, Bakir izetbegovic, had never come to Kazani.
But this changed on Monday when Izetbegovic laid a flower on the cave entrance. Followed by the high officials of SDA, Izetbegovic said that his visit to this place is in the spirit of reconciliation and mutual respect.
“I felt the debt relating to Kazani, to come here and to express piety and condolences to the families whose members ended here in a terrible way”, Izetbegovic said and added that he should have come to this place earlier.
He said that everybody should do everything so that these things never happen again, hoping that this visit “will have a positive political impact”. Izetbegović reminded that his father, Alija Izetbegovic, initiated the disciplinary proceedings during the war because of the events in Kazani.
“My father stopped actions which some individuals were doing in the rebel brigades. If he had failed to initiate this, that sort of thing would have been repeated. Certain people have already been prosecuted in the war, however, some processes have not yet been concluded”, Izetbegović said, emphasizing that this visit is his personal initiative and decision.
During the visit, SDA delegation expressed the willingness to ensure finding all the bodies in Kazani. The president of the Association of Families of Missing persons at Sarajevo-Romanija region, Milan Mandic, said that they are afraid that this is not the end of the investigation at Kazani.
“I asked Izetbegovic to intervene for a full search of the Kazani cave. If they it does not contain human remains, then those who hide them must say where they have been moved”, Mandic said.
He points out that Izetbegovic’s visit is encouraging gestures, and that similar visits must be done by the members of the BiH Presidency Dragan Covic and Mladen Ivanic.