Bosnia Tries Serb Nationalist for Glorifying Ratko Mladic

1. April 2024.11:31
Vojin Pavlovic, head of the Eastern Alternative organisation, went on trial for inciting ethnic, racial and religious hatred – the first person to be tried in the country for glorifying Bosnian Serb war criminal Ratko Mladic.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Pavlovic (left) and lawyer Mirko Blagojevic outside court. Photo: BIRN

The trial of Vojin Pavlovic, who is accused of inciting ethnic, racial and religious hatred, discord and intolerance for glorifying genocide convict Ratko Mladic, opened on Monday at the Bosnian state court in Sarajevo.

Prosecutor Nedim Cosic said that on March 10, 2023, Pavlovic placed a banner with a picture of the wartime commander of the Bosnian Serb Army above the traffic lights at a road intersection in the eastern town of Bratunac with the message: “Happy birthday, be alive and healthy.”

The indictment claims that Pavlovic, as the president of the Eastern Alternative association and a resident of Bratunac, was aware that he was glorifying Ratko Mladic by doing this.

Cosic said that Pavlovic knowingly placed the banner in a public place, which caused anxiety and fear, particularly among Bosniaks who have returned to the surrounding villages in the Bratunac area after fleeing because of the 1992-95 war.

Many Bosniaks from Srebrenica were executed in the Bratunac area by forces under Mladic’s command in July 1995.

Mladic was sentenced to life in prison by the UN court in The Hague in 2021 for the Srebrenica genocide and other wartime crimes.

Glorification of war criminals and the denial of genocide was banned under amendments to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s criminal code imposed in 2021 by the High Representative, the international official tasked with overseeing the continuing implementation of the peace deal that ended the Bosnian war.

Pavlovic, a former local councillor in Bratunac, is a well-known Bosnian Serb nationalist activist. In March 2022, after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine started, Eastern Alternative organised a pro-Russia rally in Bratunac.

Eastern Alternative was also at the centre of controversy in 2019, when it installed a memorial plaque in the centre of Srebrenica commemorating Serbs killed by “Muslim hordes” from 1992-95.

Azra Husarić Omerović

This post is also available in: Bosnian