On 30 September 1991, a horrific crime took place in western Slavonia when Marija and Stanko Šajnović and their seven-year-old son Renato were killed in Bodegraj near Okučani. It was one of many crimes that took place in the region following the occupation of Okučani in mid-August 1991.
The Šajnović family was killed in cold blood on their doorstep and it was not until August 1996 that their bodies were exhumed from a plum grove near their house. Although Milorad Dabić, a member of the Territorial Defense (TD) of Okučani confessed to this and other killings of non-Serbs in the area he was never convicted. An indictment was filed in November 1991 against him and accomplices Boško Krnjajić and Gostimir Milanović in the Yugoslav People’s Army Military Court in Zagreb (then based in Banja Luka) and as the trial was not completed due to the war, it was continued in 2003 in the Municipal Court in Belgrade. Krnjajić and Milanović were acquitted while Dabić was sent for treatment as a psychiatric patient.
After a series of initiatives and 28 years after this terrible crime, the “Wounded Dove” monument was finally unveiled at the site in Bodegraj where the remains of the Šajnović family were found, thus marking it as a mass grave site. On that solemn occasion, Minister of Croatian Veterans Tomo Medved said the following:
It is our duty to continue promoting the truth. Mass graves testify to the horrific crimes that caused tragedy for many families. Just like the Šajnović family, many civilians were killed just because they were Croats.
Unfortunately, this was not the end of the tragic story of the Šajnović family during the Homeland War. Nikola Šajnović, the other son of Marija and Stanko and older brother to little Renato, was a member of the 1st Guard “Tigers” Brigade and died while rescuing a wounded comrade on the Ogulin front in September 1993.
Graduated with a Master’s Degree in History from the University of Zagreb. He has worked at the Croatian History Museum and as a researcher for the popular TV Calendar program for Croatian Radio and Television. He has authored several books and documentaries about Croatia’s Homeland War and is the creator/producer of the immensely popular “It Happened on this Day – Homeland War” Facebook page as well as the online portal Domovinskirat.hr. Borna also is the host and editor of the daily segment “Patriotic Minutes” on Croatian Catholic Radio. He created CroHis to promote the values of the Homeland War and ensure that the sacrifices of those who defended Croatia’s independence would not be forgotten.