Bosnian Serbs Shun Sarajevo for Yugoslav Casualties’ Memorial
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The commemoration of the 1992 killings of Yugoslav People’s Army troops will be held on Thursday at a cemetery in the village of Miljevici near East Sarajevo, because Bosnian Serbs have been not allowed to install a memorial plaque in Dobrovoljacka Street in the capital where they died, the organisers said.
“The Sarajevo Canton authorities did not allow us to place a memorial with the names of the victims and we cannot perform an Orthodox religious ceremony in an adequate manner, so we will not go to Sarajevo until they allow us all of these,” Milenko Savanovic, the minister of labour and veterans’ affairs in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska, told media on Monday.
Like last year, Savanovic claimed that the security situation is also inadequate because the ceremony needs protection by large numbers of police officers to avoid possible incidents.
East Sarajevo is a Serb-dominated town in Republika Srpska near to the capital Sarajevo, which is in the Federation, Bosnia’s Bosniak- and Croat-dominated entity.
The last commemoration to be held in Dobrovoljacka Street, in 2016, passed off without any incidents.
However, a municipal refuse worker put the flowers and candles in a garbage container, causing outrage among families and some members of the public.
This caused the Bosnian Serb ministry to organise the commemoration in the village of Miljevici for the first time in 2017.
On May 3, 1992, a Yugoslav People’s Army column was attacked in Dobrovoljacka Street as it was pulling out of Sarajevo and several soldiers were killed or wounded.
Nobody has been tried for their deaths as yet.
As a result of an ongoing investigation in Serbia, two suspects have been detained – Ejup Ganic was arrested in Britain and Jovan Divjak in Austria.
However, courts in Britain and Austria decided not to extradite them to Serbia, but to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where a parallel investigation into the Dobrovoljacka Street violence is ongoing.
Despite promises by Bosnian state prosecution officials, no indictment has been filed as yet.
The question of installing a memorial at the site of the soldiers’ deaths on Dobrovoljacka Street has long been a matter of dispute in Sarajevo.