At Serbia's Statehood Day ceremony on Saturday, the Serbian President awarded controversial Austrian writer and Nobel Prize recipient Peter Handke, who is known for his support for late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, the Order of Karadjordje's Star for his “extraordinary contribution to representing Serbs in the field of culture.”
Handke, whose 2019 Nobel Prize sparked outrage across the region, especially in Bosnia, was among the 50 persons and institutions whom Serbia's Aleksandar Vucic awarded for their contributions to culture, medicine, the economy, sports, science and diplomacy.
Handke did not attend the Statehood Day ceremony.
Bosniak representatives and organisations, including war victim associations, have been calling for Handke to be stripped of his Nobel Prize, accusing him of being a genocide denier and an apologist for Serb war crimes.
“To Serbia, he is a true, proven friend, persistent even in the most difficult moments,” said Sima Avramovic, the head of the board handing out the awards.
“He defended the Serb truth wholeheartedly, even when it brought him problems and when he faced objections, as well as after he received the Nobel Prize,” Avramovic added.