News 05 Dec 14

Serb Cross Above Sarajevo Torn Down

A huge makeshift cross erected above Sarajevo to commemorate Serb victims in the city in the 1990s has been taken down by unknown assailants after it caused anger among Bosniaks.

Denis Dzidic
BIRN
Sarajevo
The cross before it was taken down.

East Sarajevo police confirmed on Friday that the cross had been taken down, but said that since there was no approval for its erection in the first place, no criminal offence has been committed.

The cross was erected in September this year by unknown persons under cover of darkness, and sparked furious comments by Bosniak victims and politicians who claimed it was unacceptable to have a memorial on a position from which Bosnian Serb forces attacked the city during the 1992-95 war.

The cross caused anger because it was installed in Zlatiste, an area on Mount Trebovic from which Serb forces shelled the Bosnian capital during the 1992-95 war. Zlatiste is now under the control of Bosnia’s Serb-led entity, Republika Srpska.

Sarajevo-based newspaper Daily Avaz said it had received a call from a man called Mirza Hatic who claimed that he was responsible for the removal of the cross.

“I said I would bring it down. The Republika Srpska police sometimes guard it and sometimes not. Me and a friend brought it down. It was a little past midnight,” Hatic told the newspaper.

“I am proud of what I did and I would do it again if they put it somewhere else,” he said.

The president of the Bosnian Serb Association of Prison Camp Inmates, Branislav Dukic, told BIRN earlier this year that the erection of the temporary cross was a result of frustration after years of waiting for Serb victims in Sarajevo to be commemorated.

Dukic said that he would continue to promote the idea of building a permanent memorial on Zlatiste.

“I will not back down from the idea of a cross memorial, and if we can’t write the names of each victim, we will at least name all the [detention] camps in Sarajevo, and there were 126 of them,” said Dukic.

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