People from all over BiH want justice for Dzenan Memic and David Dragicevic

NEWS 11.09.2021 15:44
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Source: N1

Scores of people from all over BiH gathered in Sarajevo’s centre for a massive protest, demanding justice for Dzenan Memic and David Dragicevic, two young men whose mysterious deaths remain unsolved for years.

The massive protest, which is taking place in front of the National Theatre in Sarajevo, comes after years of smaller-scale protests in both of Bosnia’s semi-autonomous entities regarding the cases. In both cases, the families of the young men believe that authorities tried to cover up the murder.

Dzenan’s father, Muriz Memic, was among those who addressed the crowd.

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“Our bandits in the prosecutor’s office don’t need words from the international community, but a firm hand. From here, we have to tell them that they can no longer do what they are doing to us now,” he said.

The body of Dzenan Memic was discovered in February 2016 in Sarajevo's Ilidza neighbourhood.

The court initially ruled that Memic died after being struck by a car, but in a recent trial, those accused of causing the accident were cleared of responsibility.

The father of the young man, Muriz Memic, was satisfied with the ruling because he never believed that his son's death was accidental. He is convinced that local authorities are trying to protect the murderer of his son.

Meanwhile, there is an ongoing case before the Court of BiH against five people who were charged with trying to cover up the crime.

The five suspects are Zijad Mutap and his daughter, Alisa Ramic, who was Memic’s girlfriend at the time of his death, Hasan Dupovac and Zijad Baric, police officers who allegedly obstructed the investigation by mishandling evidence and witness statements, and Muamer Ozegovic, an employee of a hotel who allegedly erased a video from a security camera that could have served as evidence.

Muriz Memic went on to list the demands from the protest – opening murder investigations for the Memic and Dragicevic cases as soon as possible, a meeting with the head of the BiH Constitutional Court, a meeting with members of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council – Bosnia’s top judicial institution – within a week, a meeting with the chief prosecutor in Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity, the dismissal of Sarajevo’s Chief Prosecutor, Sabina Sarajlija, as well as Banja Luka prosecutor, Dalibor Vreco, within a month, as well as the dismissal of former Sarajevo Chief Prosecutor who is now a judge at the state court, Dalida Burzic.

Dzenan's sister, Arijana Memic, said that “this is not only a battle for Dzenan and David, but for all of our children.”

She said the 20th protest for Dzenan is significant, not only because so many people showed up, but also because “it marks a victory, the victory of the father over the corrupt system.”

“Today's protests are a symbol of success,” she said, arguing that media and the public now widely accept that her brother was murdered as a fact and that institutions are now also beginning to treat it that way.

Among those who addressed the protesters was Suzana Radanovic, the mother of David Dragicevic, who came to Sarajevo from Vienna to participate in the protest.

“My child is gone, I can’t bring him back (…) I can only go home, take medication to calm down and so my day goes by goes by quicker. I take them, but I can’t forget my son,” she said.

In March 2018, police found the lifeless body of David Dragicevic, 21, in a river near Banja Luka, the administrative centre of Bosnia's Serb-majority region of Republika Srpska (RS).

A few days later, a pathologist told the media that the cause of death was likely drowning and that Dragicevic had taken drugs. The press conference sparked a series of protests, especially since another autopsy performed on David’s body showed a different time of death.

Dissatisfied with the investigation, the citizens formed a group ‘Justice for David’ led by his father Davor Dragicevic, who swore he would pursue justice no matter what.

The group organized a series of protests in Banja Luka, demanding the truth behind the death of Dragicevic to be revealed.
The case was later reclassified into murder.

Davor Dragicevic, who meanwhile moved to Vienna, as well as his supporters, believe RS police is covering up the murder and protecting some politically connected suspects.

Radanovic argued that although Bosnia’s politicians keep pushing nationalist rhetoric for the people, “they are so well connected that they protect each other.”

“I arrived in Sarajevo yesterday, I feel good here, no one bothers me and I don't bother anyone. I don't want nationalism, whoever wants war, may it be in their own home,” she said.

Radanovic said she met with Bosnia’s Chief Prosecutor, Gordana Tadic, on Friday.

“I want to give her all my support, I want to believe that she will do something, that she will help get the killers of Dzenan and David into prison, that the criminals who participated in covering up the murders will be behind bars, every one of them,” she said.

The lawyer of both families, Ifet Feraget, said that recent rulings by the Supreme Court have confirmed all his allegations.

“Our children need a new path, our children need new dreams and only together can we ensure that. This is a corrupt state and what happened to these families should have been resolved within a month. Corrupt prosecutors have turned this into grand cases that you will be paying for throughout the next ten years,” he said, referring to the costs of the years-long cases covered by taxpayers.

“We demand what is guaranteed to us by the Dayton (Peace Agreement) Constitution and the European Convention, which is above all of our laws,” he said.

“When a murder happens, you don't need to file a criminal complaint, you don't need to go to the Prosecutor's Office. You don't need to do anything, the state is obliged to conduct an investigation, but the state is missing here. If the prosecutor covers up the murder, then you don't believe in the system,” he said.

He also had a message for the High Representative in Bosnia who oversees the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, Christian Schmidt.

“Mr. Schmidt, it is due time, make them do what they have to, I have been doing so for the past five years. The rule of law means that prosecutors abide by the law, we have prosecutors who cover up murders,” he said.

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