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News 03 Dec 14

Chetniks Seek NGO Status in Montenegro

The Ravna Gora Movement of Chetniks in Montenegro has asked to be registered as an NGO to promote what it says is the truth about their suffering during World War II.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica

The head of the Ravna Gora Movement of Chetniks in Montenegro, Mileta Pavicevic, said that supporters and descendants of the WWII monarchist fighters have filed a request to the Interior Ministry to be officially registered as a non-governmental organisation.

Pavicevic, who is known as the ‘Serbian Duke’ and is a leading advocate of Chetnik rehabilitation in Montenegro, told BIRN that he expects a positive response in the next 10 to 15 days.

The Chetniks were bitter enemies of Josip Broz Tito’s communist Partisans during WWII, with the Partisans accusing the Chetniks of collaboration with the Nazis. Under communist rule in Yugoslavia, the Chetniks were banned.  

"We want our side of history to be heard, which is different from the communists’ and the 'Titoist' one. If such NGOs work in England, the US and in Serbia, why can't we have one in Montenegro?" asked Pavicevic.

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

A 2005 Serbian law stipulated that the Chetniks are entitled to the same state pension as the Partisans, their former enemies.

After the adoption of the law, a number of high-profile monarchists were officially rehabilitated, including Prince Paul, the former Yugoslav regent deposed in 1941 by a coup, and Slobodan Jovanovic, the president of the king’s government in exile.

A rehabilitation process for WWII Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic, the founder of the Ravna Gora Movement, has also begun, but has caused anger among rights groups who consider him a war criminal and has been condemned in Croatia and Bosnia.

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