SREBRENICA. A STORY OF EVIL
Naklada Ljevak, April 2016, 246 pages
• 60-pages excerpt available in English
Translation rights sold: Norway (Solum|Bokvennen)
Outstanding and unflinching documentary novel that follows the events that took place in the course of the three days and nights (between 13 and 16 July 1995) during which almost eight thousand Bosniaks were killed in the area of Srebrenica. The intention of this non-fiction novel is to research and to understand, using literary means, how was it possible for a JNA officer, raised in the spirit of Yugoslavia and genuinely devoted to the Yugoslav ideal and Titoism, to take charge of the operation to kill eight thousand people based exclusively on their ethnicity and religion.
The main character is Colonel Ljubiša Beara, General Ratko Mladić’s second in command on the Main Staff of the VRS and its Chief of Security. Colonel Beara (born in Sarajevo in 1939), had been a professional naval intelligence officer since 1963, Head of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) Security Service in the naval district of Split, and the Chief of the JNA Security Service between 1982 and the beginning of the war in 1991. Beara was the main operative who organised the killing and burial of the thousands murdered in Srebrenica. He deployed the units whose members killed the prisoners, he organised buses and trucks that transported the prisoners to the locations of the execution. It was Beara who determined and approved those locations, and organized the excavators that dug graves for the victims and buried their remains. Genocide in Srebrenica was, in fact, an operation of Mladić’s most trusted senior officers for security and intelligence. A well as following Beara’s every movement and action during those three days and nights in July 1995 when eight thousand people in Srebrenica were killed, the novel narrates his life before the war and during the war, featuring elements that set the main story in the wider context of the political and social circumstances of the time.
Ljubiša Beara has been convicted in the first instance of genocide and other crimes in The Hague and sentenced to life imprisonment, and the final judgment is expected soon.
THE STORY BEHIND THE BOOK – RESEARCH:
The outstanding personal investment of the author can be just briefly illustrated by the fact that it took ten years for Ivica Đikić to research all the sources for this book. Those are primary the documents produced by the ICTY in The Hague – indictments, transcripts of court hearings, the first instance and appeal verdicts, evidence material and appellant’s briefs in the several trials before the ICTY pertaining to Srebrenica as well as hundreds of books, military manuals and textbooks, countless newspaper articles, reports, features, documentaries…
The second part of the research involves interviews with people who knew Ljubiša Beara and his family at various stages of their lives; they mostly live in Belgrade and Split. The third part of the research is to be carried out in Sarajevo, where the documents of the relevant trials carried out by the courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be examined. This part of the research includes interviews with those familiar with the functioning of the VRS Main Staff, with special emphasis on the role of the Security Administration and Colonel Beara. The fourth part of the research requires visiting the sites in Srebrenica, Bratunac, Vlasenica and Han Pijesak (the VRS Main Staff HQ) relevant to the events in the novel.