news 13 Jan 14

Giant Serb Cross Plan Sparks Anger in Sarajevo

A Bosnian Serb organisation said it will build a 26-metre-high memorial cross on a hill above Sarajevo – a plan called ‘shameful’ by Bosniak war victims’ groups.

Elvira M. Jukic

Branislav Dukic, the president of the Bosnian Serb Association of Prison Camp Inmates, said that construction work on the cross, dedicated to Serbs killed in Sarajevo during the 1992-95 war, will begin in September or October this year.

At 26 metres high and 18 metres wide, the cross, if built, will be visible from almost everywhere in the city, becoming a key feature of the Sarajevo skyline.

Dukic said that the names of more than 6,600 Serbs who died in and around Sarajevo in wartime would be inscribed on the giant cross in the Zlatiste district of the capital.

“The Association of Prison Camp Inmates of Republika Srpska has the technical documentation for this project ready,” he said on Friday, adding that his association owned a plot of around 1,000 square metres where the memorial will be built.

He claimed there were 536 detention camps for Serbs in the 1990s war.

But Senida Karovic, head of Union of Civil Victims of the War in Sarajevo Canton said that the plan to build the monument was provocative.

“This is only spiteful towards victims. It would be a shameful to install such a memorial at places from which citizens of Sarajevo used to be killed with artillery and by snipers,” Karovic said on Friday.

“We will not let such a memorial be set up. We will stand against such a decision, and not only with words,” she said.

Bosnian Serb forces besieged Sarajevo for three and a half years during the war; according to official data, more than 11,000 people including around 1,600 children were killed amid shelling and sniper attacks from the hills surrounding the city.

The total number of local Serbs who remained and died in the city during the siege is said to be around 4,000, although Serb sources put that number at around 6,000.

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