The father of a young man whose death has prompted public protests against police and prosecutors in the Serb-dominated part of Bosnia said Monday he will ask countries who signed Bosnia’s peace agreement as guarantors to help him find his son’s killers.
The body of David Dragicevic, 21, was found in a river near Banja Luka in March. The police of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated semi-autonomous region, Republika Srpska (RS), said a few days later that there was, at the time, no reason to believe his death was the result of a crime.
However, two autopsies conducted by two different teams produced opposite results regarding the time of death.
This outraged the family as well as a number of citizens. Hundreds protested against what they claim was a police cover-up.
David’s father, Davor Dragicevic, maintains that his son was killed and is convinced this case will end up at the EU Human Rights Court in Strasbourg.
"Ours (courts) won’t solve anything and this is why I am in contact with foreign delegations and institutions. I will knock on every door," Dragicevic said.
Weeks-long protests in Banjaluka demanding "Justice for David" mounted enough pressure for the Republika Srpska parliament to form a Board of Inquiry which reviewed how the investigation into David’s death was conducted.
The Board presented its conclusions on June 5 and said there was reason to believe David was killed. It called on competent institutions to look into possible wrongdoing by RS Interior Minister Dragan Lukac, the RS police director, and other law enforcement officials. Should any misconduct be found, those who caused it should be dismissed, the Board said.
It also called on the RS Assembly to submit a request for the state-level High Judicial and Prosecutor Council to initiate disciplinary procedures against the prosecutors in the case to determine if they breached procedures and to discipline them accordingly.
It also requested that David’s death to be investigated by world-renown forensics institutes and added that popular outrage over this case was justified. What the Interior Ministry said at the initial press conference about David’s death was "baseless and untrue" and caused citizens to distrust RS institutions, it claimed.
But RS Interior Minister Lukac protested the Board of Inquiry, which is presided by opposition politician Borislav Borenovic, saying its conclusions represent the opinion of the political opposition in RS.
RS President Milorad Dodik said that lawmakers from the ruling coalition in the RS Assembly will not accept the report, claiming opposition representatives "abused the Board of Inquiry".
"They included politics, themselves and their frustrations into it," Dodik said.