Foreign embassies and institutions in Bosnia condemned the Ravna Gora Chetnik Movement’s controversial annual gathering, which took place in the eastern town of Visegrad on Sunday. They said such behaviour did not contribute to reconciliation and had no place in a modern society.
The EU’s top representative in Bosnia warned that such “disturbing event” is not a path for a multi-ethnic Bosnia.
“Today’s disturbing events in Visegrad, glorifying violence and inciting to hatred, only takes a multi-ethnic BiH (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and the whole region further away from reconciliation and the EU’s principles and values of tolerance,” EU Special Representative in Bosnia, Lars Gunnar-Wigemark tweeted.
Fans and followers gathered to pay tribute to the founder and leader of the WWII Ravna Gora movement, Draza Mihailovic, who was tried and convicted of high treason and war crimes and eventually executed.
A Belgrade court rehabilitated him in 2015, assessing that the trial was “political and ideological” and made serious errors.
But, the associations representing the Bosniak victims from the 1992-95 war and Bosniak returnees to Visegrad said this was “a humiliation” for victims.
“It goes beyond comprehension that a bus from Serbia has come carrying various uniforms, similar or resembling the ones who committed war crimes against us and genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is a shame that such scenes of horror take place in the 21st century,” said Bakira Hasecic, a chairperson of ‘Woman - A victim of war’ association.
The US Embassy expects “the relevant institutions” to address the threats heard in the Visegrad event.
“We are appalled by reports of threats and nationalistic rhetoric during today’s event in Visegrad. Such behaviour is unacceptable. We expect the relevant institutions to take the necessary steps to address these threats and hold accountable those responsible,” it was written on the US Embassy’s official Twitter account.
UK Ambassador and Head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Mission in Sarajevo shared the concerns.
Bosnia cannot move forward as long as there are those “who look back, glorifying xenophobia and racism and attempting to rewrite history,” OSCE’s Bruce Berton said through social networks. “This behaviour has no place in a modern, democratic society,” he said.
UK Ambassador Matt Field also expressed hope that the authorities would fully investigate the event.