Bučje camp

Last updated
Bučje camp
Concentration camp
Croatia location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Bučje camp within Croatia
Coordinates 45°27′44″N17°24′09″E / 45.46222°N 17.40250°E / 45.46222; 17.40250 Coordinates: 45°27′44″N17°24′09″E / 45.46222°N 17.40250°E / 45.46222; 17.40250
Location Bučje, Pakrac, Croatia
Operated byCroatian Serb rebels
OperationalAugustDecember 1991
InmatesCroatian civilians, prisoners of war, pro-government Serbs
Number of inmates200300
Notable inmates Ivan Šreter

The Bučje camp (Croatian : Logor Bučje) was an internment camp run by rebel Croatian Serb forces during the early stages of the Croatian War of Independence. Located in the village of Bučje near Pakrac, the camp was used for the imprisonment of 200300 Croatian civilians, prisoners of war, other non-Serbs, as well as Serbs that sided with the Croatian government or refused to join Serbian paramilitary groups. The camp was the site of numerous war crimes including murder, rape and torture. Twenty-two detainees are still listed as missing as of December 2013.


On two separate occasions, in August and again in October 1991, some inmates were released as part of an organized prisoner exchange with Croatian forces. The remaining 70 prisoners were taken to the Stara Gradiška camp while Bučje itself was closed on 13 December 1991. [1] A few days later, on 26 December, the empty camp and the surrounding area were captured by Croatian forces.


In 1990, following the electoral defeat of the government of the Socialist Republic of Croatia by the pro-independence Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), relations between ethnic Croats and ethnic Serbs deteriorated. In 1991, the municipality of Pakrac, in which the village of Bučje was located, was the only municipality in the central part of the Western Slavonia area with a Serbian majority, with Serbs representing 46.4% of its population, followed by Croats with 35.8%. [2] In early 1991, the Pakrac local assembly voted on joining SAO Krajina although the Constitutional Court of Croatia declared the decision invalid. [3] Ethnic tensions in the region culminated on 1 March 1991 with the Pakrac clash, one of the first serious outbreaks of violence in the Croatian War of Independence. [4] [5]


The first prisoners were taken to villages Grđevica and Branešci. Soon afterwards, they were transferred to Bučje where local Serb paramilitary groups with the help of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) [6] established a prison camp in the buildings of the nearby veterniary station, school, forest service and the old municipality seat on 16 August 1991. [1] [7] Prisoners, numbering 200 [7] to 300 [8] during the time the camp was active, consisted of Croatian civilians, some of whom were taken from their workplaces and vineyards, captured members of the Ministry of the Interior and the Croatian National Guard (ZNG), other non-Serb minorities as well as Serbs that were loyal to the Croatian government or refused to join the paramilitary groups. [7] [9] [1]

Women and children were among those detained in the camp, the youngest inmate being four years old. Prisoners were subjected to physical and psychological abuse. [7] They were beaten while handcuffed and blindfolded and forced to do hard physical labor that resulted in a number of deaths. [9] [10] Eyewitness accounts also confirmed that 10 prisoners were murdered. [10] However, as of 2013, only one body has been recovered. The fate and location of the remains of 22 others is still unknown. [10] Two women were raped while being videotaped. [11] Among the prisoners whose remains have yet to be found was Dr. Ivan Šreter, director of the Pakrac hospital and the president of the local HDZ. [12]

The camp was closed on 13 December after prisoner exchanges in August and October 1991. The remaining 70 prisoners were taken to a camp in Stara Gradiška, where they were exchanged in January 1992. [1] By that time, the Croatian Army (HV) captured the empty camp in Bučje as a part of its Operation Papuk-91 in late 1991. [1]


On 27 January 1993 the county court in Požega filed an indictment against four Serbian paramilitaries, accusing them of taking a civilian to Bučje and torturing him, along with others in the camp. In April, the four were convicted in absentia. All were sentenced to 8 years imprisonment. In 2009 the county state attorney officially requested that the men be re-tried. In the changed indictment, new evidence suggested that the four did indeed take an individual to Bučje, but they did not participate in the torture of prisoners and had no influence on how long they would be imprisoned. Also, the person they forced to Bučje was captured in his working place but was a member of the Ministry of the Interior reserve force. They were subsequently charged with armed mutiny against Croatia and were acquitted as part of a general amnesty. [13]

In July 1999 the state attorney filed an indictment against R. A. for physically and psychologically abusing prisoners while serving as a guard in the camp. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment later that year. [14] On 27 January 2007 the county court in Požega sentenced V. K., a guard in the camp, to 20 years in prison for abusing inmates at Bučje. [15] On 2008 members of the veterans associations from Pakrac and Lipik collected information about the case and filed a report to the state attorney, naming 11 individuals whom they believed to be responsible for the opening of the camp. [16]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Index & 18 September 2004.
  2. Miškulin 2011, pp. 356357.
  3. Miškulin 2011, pp. 377378.
  4. Engelberg & 3 March 1991.
  5. Engelberg & 4 March 1991.
  6. Grozdanić & 22 July 2010.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Teršelič & 15 January 2012.
  8. Pakrac 2011.
  9. 1 2 Amnesty International 1992.
  10. 1 2 3 Milković & 16 January 2013.
  11. Žarkov 2007, p. 150.
  12. Večernji list & 17 January 2011.
  13. Centar za mir 2013.
  14. Centar za mir & 28 November 2013.
  15. Državno odvjetništvo Republike Hrvatske 2013.
  16. Index & 19 May 2008.

Related Research Articles

Operation Flash Croatian Army offensive during the Croatian War of Independence

Operation Flash was a brief Croatian Army (HV) offensive conducted against the forces of the self-declared proto-state Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK) from 1–3 May 1995. The offensive occurred in the later stages of the Croatian War of Independence and was the first major confrontation after ceasefire and economic cooperation agreements were signed between Croatia and the RSK in 1994. The last organised RSK resistance formally ceased on 3 May, with the majority of troops surrendering the next day near Pakrac, although mop-up operations continued for another two weeks.

Pakrac Town in Požega-Slavonia, Croatia

Pakrac is a town in western Slavonia, Croatia, population 4,842, total municipality population 8,460. Pakrac is located on the road and railroad connecting the regions of Posavina and Podravina.

Croatian War of Independence War of independence following the breakup of Yugoslavia

The Croatian War of Independence was fought from 1991 to 1995 between Croat forces loyal to the Government of Croatia—which had declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY)—and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and local Serb forces, with the JNA ending its combat operations in Croatia by 1992. In Croatia, the war is primarily referred to as the "Homeland War" and also as the "Greater-Serbian Aggression". In Serbian sources, "War in Croatia" and (rarely) "War in Krajina" are used.

Battle of Borovo Selo

The Battle of Borovo Selo of 2 May 1991, known in Croatia as the Borovo Selo massacre and in Serbia as the Borovo Selo incident, was one of the first armed clashes in the conflict which became known as the Croatian War of Independence. The clash was precipitated by months of rising ethnic tensions, violence, and armed combat in Pakrac and at the Plitvice Lakes in March. The immediate cause for the confrontation in the heavily ethnic Serb village of Borovo Selo, just north of Vukovar, was a failed attempt to replace the Yugoslav flag in the village with the flag of Croatia. The unauthorised effort by four Croatian policemen resulted in the capture of two by a Croatian Serb militia in the village. To retrieve the captives, the Croatian authorities deployed additional police, who drove into an ambush. Twelve Croatian policemen and one Serb paramilitary were killed before the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) intervened and put an end to the clashes.

Vukovar massacre Massacre of civilians and prisoners of war following the Battle of Vukovar

The Vukovar massacre, also known as the Vukovar hospital massacre or the Ovčara massacre, was the killing of Croatian prisoners of war and civilians by Serb paramilitaries, to whom they had been turned over by the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), at the Ovčara farm southeast of Vukovar on 20 November 1991, during the Croatian War of Independence. The massacre occurred shortly after Vukovar's capture by the JNA, Territorial Defence (TO), and paramilitaries from neighbouring Serbia. It was the largest massacre of the Croatian War of Independence.

Operation Swath-10 Croatian War of Independence battle

Operation Swath-10 was a military offensive undertaken by the Croatian Army against the SAO Western Slavonia Territorial Defense Forces on Bilogora Mountain in western Slavonia. Occurring from 31 October to 4 November 1991, during the Croatian War of Independence, the operation was a Croatian victory and its success set the stage for follow-up advances by Croatian forces on Papuk Mountain in Operation Papuk-91 in late November and December. By the end of the year the HV gained control of Papuk, securing transport routes between eastern Slavonia and the rest of Croatia.

Trpinja Municipality in Slavonia, Croatia

Trpinja is a village and an eponymous municipality in the Vukovar-Syrmia County in eastern Croatia. The village is located on the D55 road between Osijek and Vukovar. Landscape of the Trpinja Municipality is marked by the Pannonian Basin plains and agricultural fields of corn, wheat, common sunflower and sugar beet.

Lovas killings

The Lovas killings involved the killing of 70 Croat civilian residents of the village of Lovas between 10–18 October 1991, during the Croatian War of Independence. The killings took place during and in the immediate aftermath of the occupation of the village by the Yugoslav People's Army supported by Croatian Serb forces and Dušan Silni paramilitaries on 10 October, two days after Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia. The occupation occurred during the Battle of Vukovar, as the JNA sought to consolidate its control over the area surrounding the city of Vukovar. The killings and abuse of the civilian population continued until 18 October, when troops guarding a group of civilians forced them to walk into a minefield at gunpoint and then opened fire upon them.

Škabrnja massacre

The Škabrnja massacre was the killing of 62 Croatian civilians and five prisoners of war by Serbian Autonomous Oblast Krajina Territorial Defence troops and the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) in the villages of Škabrnja and Nadin northeast of Zadar on 18–19 November 1991, during the Croatian War of Independence. The massacre occurred shortly after an agreement to evacuate Zadar's JNA garrison following an increase in fighting between the Croatian National Guard and the JNA.

Voćin massacre

The Voćin massacre was the killing of 43 civilians in Voćin, Croatia, by the Serbian White Eagles paramilitary unit on 13 December 1991, during the Croatian War of Independence. The massacre was carried out after the unit was ordered to abandon the village before the Croatian Army recaptured the area in Operation Papuk-91. All the victims were local Croats, save one Serb, who had tried to protect his neighbours. Gunfire was the leading cause of death, though some of the victims were killed with axes or chainsaws, or were burned to death. The victims exhibited signs of torture and were left unburied. On the night of 13–14 December, the White Eagles dynamited a 550-year-old church in the village.

Velepromet camp

The Velepromet camp was a detention facility established in the final days of the Battle of Vukovar during the Croatian War of Independence. The camp was set up by the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), which shared control of the facility with Croatian Serb rebels. The facility, originally an industrial storage site, was located on the southern outskirts of the city of Vukovar, in close proximity to the JNA barracks. It consisted of eight warehouses surrounded by a wire fence, and was established on 16 November 1991, when the first detainees were brought there.

The breakup of Yugoslavia was a process in which the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was broken up into constituent republics, and over the course of which the Yugoslav wars started. The process generally began with the death of Josip Broz Tito on 4 May 1980 and formally ended when the last two remaining republics proclaimed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 27 April 1992. At that time the Yugoslav wars were still ongoing, and FR Yugoslavia continued to exist until 2003, when it was renamed and reformed as the state union of Serbia and Montenegro. This union lasted until 5 June 2006 when Montenegro proclaimed independence. The former Yugoslav autonomous province of Kosovo subsequently proclaimed independence from Serbia in February 2008.

Dalj massacre

The Dalj massacre was the killing of 56 or 57 Croats in Dalj, Croatia on 1 August 1991, during the Croatian War of Independence. In addition to civilian victims, the figure includes 20 Croatian policemen, 15 Croatian National Guard troops and four civil defencemen who had been defending the police station and water supply building in the village. While some of the policemen and the ZNG troops died in combat, those who surrendered were killed after they became prisoners of war. They tried to fight off an attack by the Croatian Serb SAO Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Syrmia Territorial Defence Forces, supported by the Yugoslav People's Army and the Serb Volunteer Guard paramilitaries. The SAO SBWS was declared an autonomous territory in eastern Croatia following the Battle of Borovo Selo just to the south of Dalj.

Pakrac clash Bloodless skirmish and first armed incident of the Croatian War of Independence

The Pakrac clash, known in Croatia as the Battle of Pakrac, was a bloodless skirmish that took place in the Croatian town of Pakrac in March 1991. The clash was a result of increasing ethnic tensions in Croatia during the breakup of Yugoslavia. It was one of the first serious outbreaks of violence in what became the Croatian War of Independence.

Erdut killings

The Erdut killings were a series of murders of 37 Hungarian and Croat civilians in the village of Erdut, Croatia committed by Croatian Serb forces and Serb Volunteer Guard paramilitaries between November 1991 and June 1992, during the Croatian War of Independence. Twenty-two Hungarians and 15 Croats were killed. The first killings occurred on 10 November 1991, when twelve civilians died. Eight more were killed over the following several days. Five more civilians were killed on 10 December, and another seven on 16 December. Four others were killed on 21 February 1992 and the final one was killed on 3 June. The bodies of these victims were either buried in mass graves or thrown into nearby wells.

Doboj ethnic cleansing (1992)

The Doboj ethnic cleansing refers to war crimes, including murder, wanton destruction, ethnic cleansing and persecution committed against Bosniaks and Croats in the Doboj area by the Yugoslav People's Army and Serb paramilitary units from May until September 1992 during the Bosnian war. On 26 September 1997, Serb soldier Nikola Jorgić was found guilty by the Düsseldorf Oberlandesgericht on 11 counts of genocide involving the murder of 30 persons in the Doboj region, making it the first Bosnian Genocide prosecution. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) classified it as a crime against humanity and sentenced five Serb officials.

Battle of Kusonje

The Battle of Kusonje was a two-day clash fought in the village of Kusonje near the town of Pakrac on 8–9 September 1991, during the Croatian War of Independence. The battle was initiated when a platoon of the Croatian National Guard was ambushed by Croatian Serb forces while conducting a reconnaissance patrol. The ZNG deployed reinforcements to extract the ambushed platoon, but failed to reach them. The surviving members of the platoon held out until they ran out of ammunition and surrendered only to be killed by their captors and buried in a mass grave.

The Marino Selo camp was a makeshift prison camp located on the premises of the fishing hut in the village of Marino Selo where Croatian Serb civilians were detained, tortured and killed by members of the 76th Independent Battalion Croatian National Guard (ZNG).

The Pakračka Poljana camp was a makeshift prison camp where Croatian Serb civilians along with some Croats were held, tortured and executed by members of the Croatian Special Police commanded by Tomislav Merčep during the Croatian War of Independence. It was located Pakračka Poljana, near the town of Pakrac.

Novo Selo Glinsko massacre Mass murder of Croat civilians, 1991

The Novo Selo Glinsko massacre was the mass murder of Croat civilians in two separate massacres committed by Serb forces on 3 and 16 October 1991.


News reports
Scientific articles
Other sources