Messages sent from the Sunday gathering of Chetniks in the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad can be regarded as hate speech, and they are unacceptable, Bosnia’s Security Minister, Dragan Mektic, said commenting the Sunday gathering of members of the Chetnik movement.
“These things keep happening year after year. I’ve condemned the Sunday event and the messages sent from there. That was hate speech, and it is absolutely unacceptable,” Mektic said.
On Sunday, fans and followers of the World War II, nationalist Chetnik leader Dragoljub Draza Mihailovic gathered in the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad, in a controversial annual commemoration of their leader.
Like in years before, the meeting triggered fierce reactions of those representing the Bosniak victims of the 1992-95 war.
Draza Mihailovic was a Yugoslav Serb general during the WWII, but he eventually separated and formed his own group first known as the Chetnik Detachment of the Yugoslav Army and later on the Ravna Gora Chetnik Movement, all commonly known as the Chetniks.
Being opposed to the communists, the Chetnik groups mostly collaborated with the Axis powers.
Dressed in black and wearing Chetnik insignia, some 200 members laid flowers in front of a monument dedicated to fallen Serb soldiers from the 1992-95 war.
The Security Minister said the Chetnik Association was registered with the court as the association of citizens.
“The court should have prevented the creation of such an association during the registration process. They shouldn’t have allowed such events to take place year after year and to make them into a tradition,” Mektic noted.
Asked if the Visegrad events could be characterised as a threat, he said they could.
“Of course they could. All association whose actions insult the religious freedoms of citizens, spread hate speech or incite extremism, are a threat,” Mektic noted.
He added that his Ministry would investigate the documentation from the event that took place in Visegrad and send their report to the Prosecution and the rest is up to them.
But he stressed that everyone should be worried about the messages from that event because war experiences are still fresh and the people know what those messages mean.