News 09 Apr 14

NGO Wants Zagreb Streets Named After War Victims

An initiative backed by various intellectuals has been launched in Croatia to name some streets after victims of Croatian forces in the 1990s conflict.

Josip Ivanovic
BIRN
Zagreb

Around a hundred public intellectuals in Croatia, including the present and former presidents, Ivo Josipovic and Stjepan Mesic, have backed a call for streets to be renamed after victims of Croatian forces in the independence conflict of the 1990s.

“This initiative is the best way to show that some in our society, even if a minority, want to change something on this issue,” theatre director Oliver Frljic, one of the members of the initiative, said.

Among the proposed names are the members of the Zec family from Zagreb, murdered by Croatian soldiers in December 1991, Milan Levar, a Croatian officer believed to have be killed for revealing war crimes committed by his fellow soldiers in August 2000, and Josip Reihl-Kir, a policeman and peace activist, killed in July 1991.

“Some of these people, like the Zec family, were victims of state terror - non-legitimate use of violence by the state. Later, those people became victims of structural violence, institutional support to the crimes committed against them,” Frljic said on Wednesday.

So far, officials in Croatia in charge of renaming streets have not responded. “The Street Naming Committee did not respond to any of our proposals,” one of the leaders of the campaign, Sven Milekic. from the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, noted.

“But the enthusiastic support we obtained from numerous prominent individuals, artists, journalists, historians, university professors and human rights activists proved the need for such initiative,” he added.

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