His Eminence Bishop Sergije of Bihać-Petrovac has held a memorial service for the innocent victims of Serb civilians on the Petrovac road who lost their lives on this day 27 years ago.

 At the location Janjile, on the Petrovac road where the Croatian aviation bombarded the Serb refugee convoys 27 years ago as part of the criminal operation “Storm”, today, apart from the memorial service, wreaths have been laid on the memorial cross.

After the memorial service, Bishop Sergije from Bihać-Petrovac addressed all in attendance with a sermon in which he highlighted the sacrifice of the innocent refugees from Krajina, their death and severe suffering, but also the Resurrection in Christ the Lord.

“This Petrovac road is a martyr’s road, children, women and the weak perished here. This is a road of sorrow and death, but it will also be a path of Resurrection, on which our undying memory will outlive the evil of those who spread death,” Bishop Sergije underlined.

Director of the Documentation and Information Center “Veritas”, Savo Štrbac, who has attended the memorial service today, told Srna that on this day, innocent civilians were killed in a refugee line on Petrovac road.

“On this day in 1995, a refugee convoy from Lika and northern Dalmatia traveled along the Petrovac Road. About a hundred thousand refugees passed through this road, and on this day 27 years ago, a Croatian plane shelled the refugee convoy, with all civilians in it”, reminded Štrbac.

He notes that ten people were killed on the spot, among them four children, a 20-year-old girl, and several dozen Serbs were seriously wounded, after which two succumbed.

“The most tragic fate is that of Vedrana Stijelje, who lost her husband and father-in-law on Petrovac road, and she and her three-year-old daughter were wounded. Vedrana gave birth in a hospital in Novi Sad and died during childbirth, and the doctors said that the only reason for her death was the shock that she experienced”, says Štrbac.

According to “Veritas” data, more than 220,000 Krajina Serbs were driven from their homes during the “Storm”, and the records contain the names of 1,869 killed and missing Serbs, of which 1,220 were civilians.

In the verdict of February 2015, the International Court of Justice qualified “Storm” as ethnic cleansing, but not as genocide, although world experts in the field claim that the operation had all the characteristics of genocide.