The Forgotten Massacre in the Village of Baćin

On 21 October 1991, an unspeakable and forgotten crime took place during Croatia’s Homeland War when rebel Serb forces committed a horrific massacre against innocent civilians in the village of Baćin near Hrvatska Dubica in the Pounje region.

In addition to villagers from Baćin, the victims included residents of Cerovljani and Hrvatska Dubica who remained in their homes even after that part of Croatia fell under Serbian occupation. Although most civilians fled the area, about 120 mostly elder Croats chose to remain in their homes in Hrvatska Dubica and surrounding villages. 

More than a month after they occupied the area, local Serb leaders carefully planned the crime. A list of the remaining population of Croats was compiled and an order for their arrest was issued. Approximately a dozen of them were released due to intervention of relatives and friends who were privately connected or related to Serbs. A bus arrived to pick up the remaining detainees, mostly elderly women, who were told that they were to be part of a prisoner exchange in Glina but instead were taken to the execution site.

They were brought to a location near the village of Baćin where along with a dozen other Croats, they were killed by machine gun fire and their dead bodies left unburied along the Una River. Later, when the smell from their decomposing remains became unbearable, the Serbian occupiers used excavating machines to dig mass graves and bury them along the riverbank. All of the 56 people killed were elderly and unable to leave their homes. During that period, a large number of civilians from Baćin, Dubica and Cerovljani were arrested and liquidated at unknown locations as well. No complete list of those killed exists and the excavating machines destroyed their bodies beyond recognition. To date, the remains of only 45 people have been positively identified.

The special tasks unit “Kalina” from Komogovina, part of the militia of the so-called Serbian Autonomous Region (SAR) of Krajina, under the command of Stevo “Gaddafi” Borojević who died in 1992 after committing horrific crimes in the Banovina region, was responsible for the crime. It was only after the “Investigation” television show reconstructed the crime that the rule of law was initiated. An investigation was launched in 2006 that resulted in the Sisak County State Attorney’s Office filing an indictment against 15 people for the Baćin crime in 2010. Seven of them were sentenced in 2013 to 125 years in prison but none of the convicts were available to the Croatian judiciary. Thus, no one has answered for the largest mass murder in the Homeland War after the Ovčara Massacre.

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