News 09 Mar 15

Kosovo Town’s ‘Milosevic Street’ Sparks Outrage

The tiny Serb-majority town of Ranilluge/Ranilug has been forced to reconsider its plan to name a street after former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic after the proposal was strongly criticised.

Petrit Collaku
BIRN
Pristina

 

 

Gradimir Mikic, mayor of Ranilluge/Ranilug.

The mayor of the Ranilluge/Ranilug municipality in eastern Kosovo said on Monday that he has ordered a review of the decision to name a street after Milosevic, who is widely despised by Kosovo Albanians for his repressive policies in Belgrade’s former province.

Mayor Gradimir Mikic said he was not responsible for the Milosevic street-naming idea.

“I am not the one who proposed this as [it was suggested in] the news that was spread in Kosovo. It was a commission within the municipality. In this case, I have used my competencies as the mayor and sent the decision back for review,” Mikic told BIRN.

Pristina newspaper Zeri criticised the municipal authorities for the plan to name the street after the man it described as “the butcher of the Balkans”.

Kosovo’s ministry of local government administration also said that the decision to name a street after Milosevic was wrong and could not be implemented.

The ministry said in a statement on Monday that Kosovo’s Cadastral Agency had challenged the Ranilluge/Ranilug municipality’s decision “because it contains names of streets that are considered to be unacceptable”.

Mikic, a member of the Serbian Renewal Movement party, was responsible four years ago for installing a street sign with the name of Draza Mihajlovic, the WWII-era leader of the nationalist Chetnik movement, on the outside wall of his house in Ranilluge/Ranilug.

But he said that the naming of the street after Mihajlovic would also now be reconsidered.

“I have asked for all street names to be reviewed. The municipal assembly is going to review this,” he said.

Ranilluge/Ranilug became a municipality in 2010 as part of UN negotiator Martti Ahtisaari’s plan for the post-war status of Kosovo.

Milosevic died in detention in 2006 before the end of his trial for war crimes during the 1999 conflict in Kosovo as well as during the wars in Bosnia and Croatia.

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