Today begins the second fundraising cycle for our campaign War criminals should be silent, with which we collect funds to pay off a fine in the sum of 450.000 Serbian dinars; the fine eight YIHR activists were sentenced to for disturbing the peace by protesting against convicted war criminal Veselin Šljivančanin.
In January 2017, at a panel organized by the ruling Serbian Progressive Party in Beška, a small town in Vojvodina, YIHR activists attempted to draw attention to state support to Šljivančanin, sentenced to 10 years of prison by The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. When it was Šljivančanin’s turn to speak, the activists revealed a banner stating “War criminals should be silent so that victims could be heard”.
A year and nine months later, they were sentenced by the Misdemeanor Appellate Court for disturbing the peace with their protest against a convicted war criminal.
By protesting against Veselin Šljivančanin we have drawn the public’s attention to the problematic promotions of convicted war criminals and the political legitimization of their crimes. Crime must never be the norm, and those who committed them and deny them must not be glorified.
Last Friday, Ratko Mladić, a war criminal sentenced to life imprisonment, made an appearance on live television. A few days prior, Prime Minister Brnabić denied the genocide in Srebrenica in an interview for Deutsche Welle, stating that “the horrible massacre in Srebrenica was not a genocide”.
A week earlier, the Ministry of Defence held a book promotion of Vladimira Lazarević’s and Nebojše Pavković’s books, both of whom are convicted war criminals.
In April, Vojislav Šešelj was convicted of persecuting Croatians in Vojvodina. He remains a member of Parliament, contrary to Serbian law which states that his mandate should end upon conviction.
These events are only a fragment of a much larger practice of glorifying war criminals and placing them in the spotlight in public spaces.
Genocide denial and denying war crimes is unacceptable. We view each war criminal’s promotion as an indication that their crimes can be repeated.
We need your support. We will always be on the frontline, fighting against the restoration of war crimes denial and warmongering. Your support is of great importance – please help us in our battle for a society that will value peace and respect victims in the former Yugoslavia region by supporting our campaign and donating to our cause.