East Bosnian Genocide & Ethnic Cleansing Study Tour (Kalinovik, Foča and Višegrad) – Full Day Tour from Sarajevo

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31168
12 hrs
Availability : Jan - Dec
Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Tour Overview

Special Note:This program is not a classic tour program, and due to its complexity is not available every day, but is agreed individually for each request.

Eastern Bosnia (together with the Prijedor region) is unfortunately one of the true origins of the idea and act of Genocide and systematic ethnic cleansing of non-Serbian population of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s, towns and cities in Eastern Bosnia in the immediate vicinity of today’s border of Serbia and Montenegro, such as Kalinovik, Foča, Višegrad, Rogatica, Goražde, Srebrenica, Bratunac and others, became stratagems of innocently killed civilians, dominantly Bosniaks, and as such today represent the basis for documenting and mapping the narrative of the Genocide and systematic ethnic cleansing.

Understanding and confirmation of the Genocide and systematic ethnic cleansing is found in ICTY court verdicts, mass execution sites, concentration camps, survivor stories, and many other sources that are present day readily available to anyone who wants to investigate the topic in depth.

Although the government and the political elites of the entity Republika Srpska are trying with all their might so that the places of suffering and slaughter of the Bosniaks of Eastern Bosnia are completely unmarked and left to be forgotten, we have factually, with the help of court verdicts and the testimony of survivors, created a one-day tour program that visits the most important memorialized and non-memorialized places of suffering of Bosniak Muslim population of eastern Bosnia.

Highlights

What's Included

INCLUDED
  • English speaking guide and full tour arrangements.
  • Upon special request, get to meet the survivors and hear the first-hand experiences.
  • No hidden costs.
  • Pay safely online with a credit card. We accept payments for all types of credit cards.
NOT INCLUDED
  • Personal travel insurance is not included. Please buy it at home country.
  • Tips are not included in the tour costs. If you receive excellent service, please consider tipping.

Getting There

  • Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) This original itinerary is scheduled to start from Sarajevo. For elsewhere start please let us know in advance.

Itinerary

Itinerary Note:Considering that the 10th stage of the Genocide, the denial (Washington Post , Euractiv ) is in full swing not only in Bosnia and Herzegovina itself, but also in the wider Balkan region, our contribution through raising awareness to the heavily unpunished and almost forgotten Genocide, is also our responsibility to prevent the recurrence of the Genocide in future.

Turovi Village (vicinity of Trnovo)

The tour starts from Sarajevo in the early morning, and via parts of eastern Sarajevo, present day Republic of Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we drive towards Eastern Bosnia, and soon arrive at our first destination, the village of Turovi, in the vicinity of town of Trnovo.

Turovi is a village at the foot of the Treskavica and Bjelašnica mountains, today located in the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the immediate vicinity of the village itself, in July 1995, the shooting of 6 people from Srebrenica took place, who were killed by members of the Army of the Republika Srpska and who recorded the act with a video camera.

It is extremely important to understand that the victims were mostly young men captured during the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995, and brought some 200 kilometers further to the region of the village of Turovi to be executed there. This act clearly indicates the systematic planning and killing of Bosniaks from Srebrenica, in order to effectively hide the traces.

Rogoj Pass and Bistrica Canyon

Rogoj is the mountain pass on the Treskavica mountain, which during the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina was one of the most notorious lines of demarcation between the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Srpska forces. Next to the road itself, on the Rogoj pass, executions of local Bosnian civilians were carried out.

The first stopping point is the location where at least 4 people are known to have been shot to this day. In addition to the execution sites, Rogoj and the Treskavica mountain were the epicenters of the war, and understanding the significance of these locations is extremely important for wider understanding of the War in Bosnia.

After that, we follow the road along the Bistrica river canyon. The Bistrica River rises at the foot of the Treskavica mountain and with its length of 17 km has created a canyon that in some parts reaches a height of up to 700 m.

Unfortunately, during the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina, the canyon of the Bistrica river was often the place of executions of Bosnian civilians, predominantly from the region of Eastern Bosnia. One of the locations we plan to stop by in the canyon is the place of execution and the location of the mass grave of 11 people associated with the Genocide in Srebrenica from July 1995.

Kalinovik

Located at an altitude of 1070 m above sea level, Kalinovik was known during the Yugoslav period as a large military training ground and, in a certain way, a military town, living off its garrison. Allegedly, military service in Kalinovik, at the Meka Brda training ground – the second largest military training ground in Europe and the fourth in the world – was due to harsh conditions even for the JNA’s strict regime – the harshest punishment for any soldier.

In the 1991 census, the majority of the municipality of 4,249 inhabitants were Serbs with 60% of the population, and Bosniaks with 40%. During the war, ethnic cleansing and crimes against non-Serb civilians of Kalinovik municipality resulted in the fact that according to the 2013 census, Serbs are the absolute majority of 97% in Kalinovik municipality, meaning the process of ethnic cleansing was successful.

The locations we visit are the Barutni Magazin concentration camp, through which 120 Bosniaks passed and the place of execution of 24 Bosniak civilians, known as Tuzlakova Štala.

From April until the end of ’92. the most serious forms of war crimes were committed in Kalinovik, namely crimes against humanity, crimes of murder, rape, crimes of forcible displacement of civilians, crimes of robbery and all other war crimes that were proven before the International Court of Justice in The Hague and the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

FACTS ABOUT KALINOVIK

  • Birthplace of war criminal Ratko Mladić

Born a few kilometers from Kalinovik in the village of Božanovići, Ratko Mladić was the General of the Army of Republika Srpska during the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sentenced to life imprisonment in the process at the Hague Tribunal, among other crimes he is responsible for Genocide, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ratko Mladić mural is located at the roadside entrance of Kalinovik, depicting him as a hero. 

  • The myth of Adolf Hitler’s military service

A generational story that was passed down from generation to generation claiming that during the Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Adolf Hitler as part of the military service in the monarchy served in Kalinovik, where he actually received the rank of sergeant in the Austro-Hungarian fortress located at the hill in the centre of Kalinovik.

However, official history claims that Hitler served in the Bavarian army, not the Austro-Hungarian. The literature admits that Hitler as a courier received the rank of corporal, not in the Balkans, but on the battlefield in Belgium.

According to all information, official documents and papers, Hitler was not in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the First World War. Documents and available literature say that only once during the Second World War did he visited Slovenia.

  • Victims of executions from the period of 1992, registered as “died of natural causes”

Apart from the court-proven facts about the manner of execution of Bosniaks at the location of Tuzlakova štala, in the court processes in which several Serbs from the wider territory of Kalinovik were trialed and convicted, today the local municipality is doing its best to deny the crime, by ofte officially treating Bosniak victims killed in factually proven executions as having “died of natural causes”.

In this way, at the level of the local municipality, entity of Republic of Srpska continues to relativize and deny the existence of crimes, while causing great pain to the families of the victims. Read the story about Abdurahman Filipović – Al Jazeera and GFBV.de.

Miljevina

After visiting the Kalinovik region, we return to the main road that connects Sarajevo and Foča, and make a short stop in Miljevina to visit the EHOS – EMOS hotel, also know as Hotel Bistrica.

The hotel was built in 1973, because the region was gaining popularity, both because of the Miljevina mine and because of the Sutjeska Memorial Complex.

During the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina, this hotel was used as the headquarters of the Army of the Republika Srpska and the place of systematic rape and torture of Bosnian women and young girls from Foča by the Serbian army.

Today, the hotel is in a dilapidated state, but it provides an excellent insight into the history of the Brutalist architecture of the Yugoslav era.

Foča

One of the most war crimes and ethnic cleansing affected town in Eastern Bosnia, is the town of Foča.

The campaign of ethnic cleansing in Foča is a series of war crimes committed by the military and civilian authorities of Republika Srpska during the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina. The army, police, and paramilitary formations systematically committed crimes against Bosniaks, resulting in many killed and about 21,000 of them leaving Foča after July 1992.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found proven the acts of ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks, killings, mass rape and intentional destruction of Bosniak property and cultural property in several verdicts. 

Most of the 22,500 Muslim inhabitants were expelled, 13 mosques were destroyed, including the UNESCO world heritage monument, Aladža Mosque. In addition, the Republika Srpska authorities established several locations where hundreds of women were systematically raped, and some were sent to forced labor and slavery. For this, many officers and soldiers of the Republika Srpska, and other participants were accused and convicted before the ICTY.

Serbian forces, which included local soldiers and soldiers from Montenegro and Serbia, as well as a paramilitary formation called the White Eagles, held captive women and girls in more than 10 locations in Foča, who were raped, beaten, forced into forced labor, and then killed.

For more details about systematic raping read the testimony of Witness 87 in the case against Dragoljub Kunarac, Zoran Vuković and Radomir Kovač at ICTY.

In the very heart of Foča, we plan to visit the renovated Aladža mosque and the Partizan sports hall, which was used as a center for the detention, rape and sexual exploitation of women and girls.

Since Foča is a town where a small number of Bosniaks returned after the ethnic cleansing, if we have the opportunity we will organize a Q&A session with some of the returnees where you can hear first hand experiences of life in Foča during the 1992.

Lunch Break

We plan to have lunch with the returnees in the Foča region, where we will try local food and enjoy the views of the beautiful Drina river.

This entire concept of the program, apart from having an educational note, also includes support for the local community of returnees. With your decision to book this tour, you actually get to know the survivors of the Foča’s Golgotha and support the sustainable return of the local community.

Goražde

Goražde, the true hero town.

Goražde is a city that was threatened with the same fate as surrounding towns in eastern Bosnia such as Foča, Kalinovik and Višegrad.

Equally attacked as other places in Eastern Bosnia, fortunately, the local people of Goražde managed to defend themselves and in that way prevented the massacre of thousands of Bosniaks who lived in Goražde.

The heroism of the defense of Goražde, a city that was cut off from the rest of the free territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina for 4 years, is the absolute merit of the local defenders who defended this city with extraordinary efforts and with improvised weapons.

In Goražde, we plan to visit the “Bridge under the bridge” memorial, the “Rorovi” nature park and a couple of additional locations that further reveal the heroism of Goražde during the siege from 1992 to 1995.

Višegrad

Before the turbulent breakup of the former Yugoslavia, the municipality of Višegrad, in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, was a peaceful multi-ethnic community near the border of today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, widely known for the famous UNESCO Mehmed paša Sokolović bridge, built during the Ottoman Empire.

Višegrad is a city that experienced a similar fate of ethnic cleansing as Foča, Kalinovik, Rogatica, Srebrenica and other parts of Eastern Bosnia, during the spring and summer of 1992.

Today, this city is unfortunately known as the scene of some of the most terrible crimes committed in this war-torn region, which also led to a huge change in the number of inhabitants, i.e. the almost complete disappearance of the Bosnian Muslim population in the Višegrad area.

During this period, about 3,000 Bosniaks were killed in Višegrad by the Serbian police and paramilitary Serbian units during the spring and summer of 1992.

Višegrad is a city of alive human bonfires, where more than 140 women, children and old people were burned alive in the “living pyres” in the houses of Adem Omeragić and Meho Aljić. The youngest victim, a baby in her mother’s arms in Pionirska Street, was only two days old and didn’t even have a name at the time of her death.

This crime represents one of the most terrible war crimes that happened during the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also crimes that happened at the end of the twentieth century.

The investigations into these crimes resulted in the prosecution of the persons who personally committed the crimes listed in the indictment. For more information about Višegrad war crimes, read in the cases of Milan and Sredoje Lukić at the ICTY trial.

During our visit to Višegrad, we will visit the Mehmed paša Sokolović bridge, a location from which many Bosniaks were killed, slaughtered and thrown into Drina river, and the house of the living pyre in Pionirska, which today serves as a memorial dedicated to the victims of this terrible crime.

In addition, we will visit the infamous Hotel Vilina Vlas, which during the war served as a place of rape and torture of Bosnian women by the Serbian army.

Return to Sarajevo

The road from Višegrad back to Sarajevo will take us via Drina river valley, Rogatica, Sokolac and Mokro.

Expect the later arrival to Sarajevo.

Special Notes

  • This is not a classic tour, but an academic trip (study tour) dedicated for better understanding of the Genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Please read the tour itinerary in advance to know what to expect during the tour.
  • The tour includes visiting of all the places listed in the itinerary with exceptionally educated tour guide. Meeting the locals at the places we visit, requires special advance request.
  • This tour is great source of knowledge for various kinds of academic research covering topics of Genocide, War Crimes, Human Rights, Politics, Diplomacy, Breakup of Yugoslavia, Bosnian War, Siege of Sarajevo, Srebrenica Genocide, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is this tour for me/us?
    This tour is adjusted for anyone who is interested for in-depth understanding of the Bosnian Genocide and ethnic cleansing during the 1990s.
  2. Can we book this tour as a group (school, university, NGO, etc.)?
    Yes, this tour is especially designed to host academic study tours purpose, aiming at groups of various backgrounds. 
  3. Is the food provided during the tour?
    Yes the tour costs when agreed, will cover the lunch expenses.
  4. Is this tour fact based?
    Yes absolutely. Tour is fact based itinerary sourcing knowledge from the ICTY verdicts and experiences of first-hand survivors of Bosnian Genocide.
  5. If we want to meet the local survivors, how can we do it?
    Please let us know in advance the purpose of attending this tour and we shall let you know all the available options.
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