News 21 Jan 15

Bosnian Defence Ministry Probes ‘Chetnik’ Ceremony

The ministry ordered an investigation after a photograph was published online purporting to show Bosnian Army troops lined up with people in Serb nationalist Chetnik uniforms at a religious ceremony.

Denis Dzidic
BIRN
Sarajevo
The image that sparked the probe. Photo: Facebook.

Bosnian defence minister Zekerijah Osmic ordered the Bosnian Army’s General Inspectorate to gather all information about the photograph which was made public on Facebook purporting to show Bosnian soldiers standing alongside men in Chetnik uniforms at a ceremony to mark the Epiphany religious holiday in the town of Banja Luka.

“All responsible authorities in the defence ministry and armed forces are involved in the investigation in order to stop speculation and abuse of any kind, which can be traced back to the armed forces,” the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The authenticity of the photograph could not be independently confirmed.

The Social Democratic Party condemned the alleged incident, saying that people wearing the insignia of Bosnia and Herzegovina should not be standing together with people wearing nationalist symbols.

“No one should use religious events to propagate discredited nationalist ideas, and the fact that members of the Chetnik movement are standing alongside people in Bosnian uniform should be condemned, since Bosnia and Herzegovina has always been a country for all its citizens and not only those who want clear ethnic territories,” the party said in a statement.

The Ravna Gora Movement of Chetniks are nationalist Serb fighters who were bitter enemies of Josip Broz Tito’s communist Partisans during WWII. Under communist rule in Yugoslavia, the Chetniks were banned.

Serbia is the only country in the region which has recognised the rights of the Chetniks to be treated as regular troops in WWII.

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