BRATUNAC -- A memorial service in the village of Kravica, near Bratunac, in eastern Bosnia, today marked the 17th anniversary of the 1993 massacre of 49 Serb villagers.
The Bosnian Muslim forces from Srebrenica, led by Naser Orić, attacked the village in January 1993, to kill the villagers and burn their homes.
Most of those murdered were women, children and elderly. Seven were taken prisoner, and died in a in Srebrenica after they were subjected to torture.
More than 1,000 villagers fled, carrying their children and the wounded through the high snow, walking for some five kilometers over mountain passes until they reached the Drina River, and were transported across to Serbia to safety.
After the Christmas Day 1993 massacre, the bodies of only nine Serb civilians were found and buried, while 40 others were discovered and identified two months later.
101 children were left without either one or both parents in this Serb settlement.
Kravica, which had a population of 2,500 before the war, was the target of constant attacks in 1992 and 1993, launched by armed Muslims from the villages around Srebrenica and Brantunac, who in this period killed 152 Serb civilians and soldiers, and wounded 168.
These crimes did not result in any indictments of Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), while the Hague Tribunal on July 3, 2008, acquitted Orić, charged with command responsibility, citing a lack of evidence.
In the space covering 64 sq kilometers of the Kravica region, Muslims in 1992 and in early 1993 destroyed all villages and hamlets, 30 in all, with all 688 private and 27 public structures were also left in ruins.
26 of those villages are empty to this day. Only in four, a negligible number of refugees has returned, consisting mostly of the elderly.
According to the Republic of Srpska (RS) government, Orić's forces killed more than 1,200 Serb civilians in the area of Srebrenica, Brantunac and Zvornik in 1991 – the first year of the Bosnian war, which ended in 1995.
The Bosnian Serb army intelligence also showed that Orić was leading the attack on Kravice.
Today, the memorial service for the victims was held in the Church of St. Apostles Peter and Paul, and later in the day, candles were lit and flowers placed at a memorial site dedicated to the Serb victims of the Birač region.