Cancelled, the Ravna Gora rally in Visegrad is nonetheless problematic
The controversial Chetnik rally, which was supposed to take place in Visegrad on 13 March has been called off by the authorities, following a ban on public gatherings in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Even if the 2020 edition is postponed, TRIAL International strongly condemns the gathering of the Ravna Gora Movement, as it publicly incites hatred and causes fear among citizens, especially returnees.
Particularly problematic is the fact that this rally is being held in Visegrad, a city where some of the most horrific war crimes in the last war were committed, including the massacres, rapes, burnings and torture of civilians. Such gatherings evoke the horrible memories of the war for the survivors in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
“These associations and rallies promote fascist ideologies, and consequently, national and religious hatred by creating an atmosphere of discord and intolerance”, stated Lamija Tiro, Legal Advisor to TRIAL International in BiH. “The BiH Criminal law offers the possibility of punishing such acts, but there has been no concrete response from the judicial institutions. We still lack any real action that would prosecute the organizers of such events and ultimately ban such associations.”
In a context where it is accepted that a dormitory is named after Radovan Karadžić, where displaying photographs of convicted war criminals in public assemblies or establishing associations and organisations bearing the names of war criminals is not considered to be worthy of a conviction, TRIAL International strongly opposes these expressions of denial. The organization has recently taken a stand on this issue by publishing Calling War Atrocities by Their Right Name, in partnership with Forum ZFD.
TRIAL International urges local, entity and state authorities to prevent the Ravna Gora Movement from gathering. The organization also advocates to the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order to speed up the process of taking adequate measures on the criminal charges that were filed following the same gathering last year.