location: Komić is a village near Udbina, to which it belongs administratively. In 1991 it was a part of the Titova Korenica municipality. According to 2011 census only 20 persons live there and according to the last pre-war census (1991) Komić had 153 inhabitants of whom 152 were Serbs and one Yugoslav. The nearby village of Poljice had 45 inhabitants, all of them Serbs, but now there are only 9 persons in this village. Economic activity consists of several herds of sheep and perhaps individual honey production, and it is practically impossible to come across a person below the age of 50 in this area. Unfortunately, like many other villages in Lika, Komić is on a practically inevitable path of extinction, and the grave crime committed there several days after the operation Storm and all the combat activities, doubtlessly contributed to this.

time of crime: 12 August 1995, between noon and 2 pm

description of crime: Operation Storm formally ended on 7 August 1995, but combat activities continued up to two days past this date in the area of Dvor and for a longer time sporadically in “clearing” actions in the entire area of combat activity. Although the term “clearing” is customary in military jargon and it refers to elimination (by killing or taking prisoner) of remaining broken enemy groups or individuals; in the wars on former Yugoslav territory it almost became a synonym for unhindered killing of civilians who remained living in areas that came under control of the army of the “other side”. Exactly this sort of crime happened in Komić and the neighbouring Poljice when on 12 August 1995 Croatian Army members or – as has also been suggested – Special Police forces, entered with several armoured vehicles (armoured personnel carriers and tanks). They came from the direction of Ondić, randomly shooting, although at that moment in the area of Udbina, including Komić, there were no apparent military reasons for doing so. Upon entering the village, they started setting alight houses and other structures, also wheat and hay, and they killed the cattle. But that was not the end of it. One of the victims of this raid was an immobile elderly woman who was 74 at the moment of death and who was torched in her house’s summer kitchen. Her daughter who was hiding 15 meters away, and had survived, witnessed the event. Although initially nine victims of this crime were mentioned, identity could not be established of two persons listed earlier (married couple Mara and Rade Mirković), i.e. it is not certain that they had lived in Komić/Poljic, and thus seven victims are listed.

victims:

  1. Marija Brkljač, born in 1921 who lived in informal marriage with Petar Ugarković at the address Komić 88. She was immobile and was burnt in the summer kitchen of her house; while her daughter Jela managed to hide in the vicinity and Petar earlier fled to thenearby hill
  2. Patar Lavrnić, born in 1933 in Komić remained in the village with his mother Sava aged 92 in the house at the number 84. He was killed and left in the house to burn, but his body was found ten meters away from the house, next to the one of his mother’s in March the following year
  3. Sava Lavrnić, born in 1903, was found dead next to her son Petar. It is assumed that she was not shot with firearms, but was left with her legs tied and managed to partially free herself, and used her last strength to drag her son out of the burning house, but then died herself. Petar’s body was turned face down and his mother lied by his side doubled over on her right hip.
  4. Staka Ćurić, 45 years old, killed with firearms. (Identity of this person was not firmly established. It is beyond doubt that Staka Ćurić lived in Komić, but it is not certain whether she was killed on 12 August 1995 or earlier, during the action. It is also uncertain whether she was 45 or even 20 years older)
  5. Rajko (Rade, Raka) Sunajko, born in 1909, lived with wife Milica at the address Poljice 22 and was killed from firearms in his neighbour’s yard
  6. Milica (Mika) Sunajko, Rajko’s wife, born in 1920, has not been found to this day and went missing on that day.
  7. Mika Pavlica, born in 1904 or 1906, immobile the same as the earlier mentioned Marija Brkljač. She was also burnt in her house

information on exhumation and identification of victims: Milica Sunajko’s body has not been found, five victims were identified and buried, and we are not aware what happened to the body of Staka Ćurić. The daughter recovered Marija Brkljač’s remains three days after the murder and buried them in the plum orchard in a tin box. On 17 September 1995 she reburied her mother’s remains with the other relatives at the local cemetery. The bodies of Petar and Sava Lavrnić were found by Croatian Helsinki Committee (HHO) activists on 2 March 1996 and these remains were subsequently identified and buried, while Rajko Sunajko was buried earlier, at the end of August 1995 at the local cemetery in Poljice.

legal consequences: Although the HHO had discovered this crime as early as 1996 and reported it to relevant entities, no one has been held responsible for it yet.