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Bosnia murder of a 16-year-old Bosniak returnee

Briefing notes

Bosnia murder of a 16-year-old Bosniak returnee

13 July 2001

UNHCR is outraged by the murder of 16-year-old Bosniak returnee Meliha Duric, who was shot by an unknown assailant early Thursday at the village of Damdzici, near Vlasenica in Republika Srpska - one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's two constituent entities. The teenage girl was murdered just four months after the Duric family returned to Damdzici. She was killed while inside her own house by a single shot fired from the outside. This was the second attack on a Bosniak returnee in the area in just three months. On May 14th, another Bosniak returnee was wounded by a gunshot fired under similar circumstances in the same village. No arrests were made after that attack. UNHCR is urging the Republika Srpska authorities to do their utmost to track down the murderer and bring them to justice. UNHCR believes that the lack of a robust effort to find and to punish the perpetrator of the first attack might have encouraged the second one. The attack illustrates the dangers Bosnians still face in returning to their homes, nearly six years after the war ended. Nearly 230,000 people have gone back to live among their former enemies since the Dayton peace agreement put an end to fighting in Bosnia in the fall of 1995. Most of them have returned to the Federation, but an estimated 60,000 non-Serbs have also gone back to Republika Srpska.