Twists and turns in the rehabilitation process of the WW2 Chetnik leader Dragoljub Mihailovic might be nearing the end after the court appoints a legal guardian.
On Thursday, the Belgrade Higher Court appointed the lawyer Radisa Bogdanovic as a legal guardian who can confirm that Mihailovic is dead.
A day before, Serbia’s Centre for Social Work has refused to assign a legal guardian to Mihailovic, which could have prevented the court from completing the rehabilitation process.
Mihailovic, who was also known as General Draza, the wartime leader of the royalist Chetnik movement, was sentenced to death in 1946 by a Yugoslav Court for high treason and collaboration with Nazi Germany.
In March this year, the Court asked any member of the public who could provide information related to Mihailovic’s death to come forward. Because no one responded to the request, the court asked the Center for Social Work to assign a legal guardian.
The proceedings for determining Mihailovic’s death were initiated by the Society of Political Prisoners and Victims of the Communist Regime and the Serbian Liberal Party, since to date, no documentary or other evidence of the exact circumstances of his death has ever been found.
The family of Mihailovic has been searching for years for documentary proof of his death, but their only written evidence so far is an article from the Borbanewspaper from July 8, 1946, which records that Mihailovic was killed the day before.
The State Commission for finding secret graves dating from the Second World War has stated that Mihailovic was killed on July 17, 1946 in Belgrade, close to today’s popular summer resort of Ada Ciganlija.
However, Mihailovic’s grave has never been found. It is believed that his bones were transferred at a later date to Great War Island, a small island in the river Danube, close to Belgrade.
Mihailovic’s grandson, Vojsilav Mihailovic, who filed the request for his grandfather’s rehabilitation, which would result in the 1946 verdict being quashed, says that his grandfather was never a Nazi collaborator and that his trial was a product of the communist regime.
The announcement of Mihailovic’s possible rehabilitation has provoked a negative reaction not just in Serbia, but also amongst the Bosnian and Croatian public. The consensus appears to be that it would not be good for the region if the Serbian state rehabilitates a war criminal.
The rehabilitation hearing will continue on October 8.