May 22, 1992, Banja Luka: KILLED BABIES STILL CRYING FOR JUSTICE

Posted on May 22, 2013 by

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At the time, Croat and Muslim forces held the “Posavina Corridor”, the corridor linking the Bosnian Krajina region with Serbia, under blockade.  This made it impossible to bring the required oxygen to Banja Luka by land. 

The only possible way to transport the oxygen was by air, but since the Security Council had established a no-fly zone over BiH, the airplane bringing the oxygen from Belgrade was not allowed to make the flight. 

Despite all appeals for the delivery of oxygen to Banjaluka, the world turned a deaf ear… The cruelty of world potentates extinguished one life at a time…

BANJALUKA, May 21 /SRNA/ – A great crime, which resulted in the deaths of 12 newborn babies in Banjaluka from May 22 to June 19, 1992, is still waiting for justice to be done.

Fourteen babies were born at that time at the Banjaluka Clinical Centre who desperately needed oxygen, but did not get it.

Oxygen was not delivered despite outcries from the public and the fact that all officials of UNICEF and international humanitarian organisations were informed of the desperate situation which the Banjaluka Children Clinic found itself in.

Monument in Banja Luka: 12 Little Stars

An airplane with oxygen, which was waiting at Batajnica Airport near Belgrade, never got a clearance from the UN Security Council, since a no-fly zone above BiH was in effect at the time.

The mothers of deceased babies have founded an association and demand the Republika Srpska Government file charges against the UN Security Council.

“Justice has not been done yet,” said association secretary Zeljka Tubic in a statement for SRNA, adding that it is humiliating for the mothers for everyone to remember them only at the anniversaries of the babies’ deaths.

“We feel like puppets. When it is in someone’s interest to show something, they call us to come. We visit our children at cemeteries anyway,” Tubic said.

She is grateful to the City of Banjaluka for the effort to see to it that the 12 babies are not forgotten.

“The mothers would like someone held accountable and for we mothers to finally get the status we are entitled to, but this has not happen after 21 years,” Tubic said.

Zeljka’s baby was only nine days old when she died.

“We cannot forgive. I have no words of forgiveness for my arms having remained empty, for my having sung lullabies in silence with empty arms… For this there is no forgiveness,” Zeljka Tubic says.

She recollects that despite all appeals for delivery of oxygen to Banjaluka, the world remained silent.

At the Department of Intensive Care of the Banjaluka Maternity Ward, from May 22 to June 19, 1992, 12 newborn babies died for lack of oxygen that could not be delivered from Belgrade because the UN Security Council banned flights over the territory of BiH.

Seven days after the last baby died, the Republika Srpska Army opened a corridor to Serbia.

The cruelty of world potentates caused the deaths of one baby at a time.

The 13th baby, Sladjana Kobas, survived, but lost her battle in 2005 in consequence of her deprivation of oxygen.

The 14th baby suffered consequences she will feel all her life. She went blind in the incubator.

Babies, who even did not have time to get names, were buried one beside the other at the Banjaluka Novo Cemetery.

A sculpture called “Life” was erected in the centre of Banjaluka in memory of the babies, but also as a reminder of all the children killed in the last war.

The sculpture is a record of sorts of the tragedy which still lives in the mothers of the killed babies.

The death of 12 newborn babies in Banja Luka was a tragic crime during the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina, when 12 infants died at the Banja Luka Hospital neonatal intensive care unit, because of the lack of oxygen needed for their treatment. 
As soon as they heard about the emergency, that babies are out of oxygen and that they are dying, without hesitating a moment, local mechanics and workers, and everyonewho had a bottle of oxygen on himself which served different purpose: for repairs, supplies, fixing, welding, useful and necessary in the blaze of war, they headed towards Paprikovac Maternity Ward, even with horse wagon. But it just wasn’t enough…
I don’t know how many people know the background to this, but in 1992 during the war Banja Luka was cut off from Serbia which was providing water, electricity, fuel, among other things.
The hospital in Banja Luka appealed to the international community for help, but it was refused. 

The lack of oxygen occurred because Serb territories were blocked by Croat and Muslim military forces.At the time, Croat and Muslim forces held the “Posavina Corridor”, the corridor linking the Bosnian Krajina region with Serbia, under blockade.  This made it impossible to bring the required oxygen to Banja Luka by land.The only possible way to transport the oxygen was by air, but since the Security Council had established a no-fly zone over BiH, the airplane bringing the oxygen from Belgrade was not allowed to make the flight.
 
As a result, 12 babies died due to a lack of necessary oxygen that day. I find it incredibly tragic that 12 lives (now a 13th) were lost before they could even start.

1. Dusanka Djukic
2. Zivka Knezevic
3. Fatima Dedic
4. Zeljka Tubic
5. Zilha Murica-Delic
6. Safeta Medic
7. Nadja Puska
8. Dragoslava Maric
9. Milena Sandic
10. Dragica Komljenovic
11. Majda Djuran
12. Vladimir Raus Grozda
13. Sladjana Kobas

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