War Veterans in Trusina: Compassion Is Not Limited by Ethnicity

At the invitation of the victims’ association from Trusina near Konjic as organisers of the commemoration, war veterans from the region, former members of the RBiH Army, HVO, VRS, HV, VJ and JNA, attended today’s commemoration in Trusina.

According to the information of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 16 April 1993, Trusina, some 20 kilometres from Konjic, was the site of the murder of 19 civilians and three captured members of the HVO. A number of persons have been convicted for this war crime by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a trial against one of the accused is still ongoing.

“Gathering in one place members of once warring armies, and today people of good will honouring the victims, is no small feat. This is something we need to set an example that others will follow on the path to peace, forgiveness, compassion for all victims. This relationship towards all victims is an important step towards a future in which, I believe, no one wants to see the 1990s repeated,” said Dragica Tomić, president of the victims’ association.

Since 2008, the peace organisation Centre for Nonviolent Action, with offices in Sarajevo and Belgrade, has been organising visits by groups of war veterans from Croatia, Serbia and BiH to sites of suffering of civilians and soldiers from the past war and to official commemorations organised by local and state authorities and victims’ associations.

“We have come, as war veterans and peace activists, to honour all victims and send a message that the terrible violence of war should never be repeated. I am ashamed of all these sites where people were killed, especially those that were helpless, either as civilians or as prisoners. Adding to my shame is that one of the perpetrators of this crime in Trusina is an acquaintance of mine from Prijedor, Mensur Memić Menta,” said Edin Ramulić, a war veteran of the RBiH Army, a prison camp survivor and peace activist from Prijedor.

Under the organisation of the Centre for Nonviolent Action, veterans from the region have attended commemorations in BiH in Gornji Vakuf, at Site 715 near Zavidović, in Stog near Vozuća, in Novi Grad/Bosanski Novi, Sanski Most (Hrastova glavica), Sijekovac near Brod, Laništa near Brčko, in Serbia in Grdelička klisura near Leskovac, Varvarin near Kruševac, Aleksinac, and in Croatia in Pakrac, Varivode and Gošić near Knin.

“I am proud that today I am here with a group of war veterans who fought on different sides in the wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia to show that compassion is not limited by ethnicity. I am grateful to the families of the victims who invited us and to Bishop Pero Sudar who held an inspirational speech against violence and injustice and called on compassion for victims from the other side who were killed on the same day and in a similar way in the village of Ahmići. Only by working together do we stand a chance of overcoming hatred within us and around us,” said Nenad Vukosavljević from the Centre for Nonviolent Action Sarajevo/Belgrade.