Video of the celebrations in Serbia's southwestern town of Priboj with a Bosniak minority showed some of the policemen present singing a song honouring war crimes, caused a stormy public reaction, outrage and condemnation by both Bosniaks and Serbs, and Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic denounced it and promised the authorities' reaction.
As shown in the video, the police officers celebrated with a song calling for new crimes such as the 1995 Srebrenica genocide or the 1991 destruction of Vukovar in Croatia.
The organiser of the celebration of the birth of his son apologised, while the activists say that the Government cultivated nationalist sentiments and threats.
„It is not okay for anyone to do that, let alone the police. Especially when it glorifies crimes and criminals against one nation and calls for their repetition, particularly when they live and work in a multiethnic environment. That nation cannot believe the police will provide them security but can rather be afraid,“ Priboj Imam Harun Eminagic said.
Aida Corovic, an activist, said that “it came out of them spontaneously, and that is what the policy of this Government is.”
The man who celebrated the birth of his son apologised on Facebook to everyone who felt insulted by the song, saying it was released unintentionally and promising to react by turning off the music in the future.
Vucic condemned the behaviour and said that the state would not allow anyone to feel threatened. Serbia belonged to everyone, he said, but reminded that the Bosniaks had songs against the Serbs.
“Hate breeds hatred, and it has not brought good to anyone. I call on all people to take care of their Bosniak neighbours, friends and compatriots as I ask Bosniaks to care for Serbs. When I was in (towns in Sandzak region) Pazar and Sjenica , wherever I wanted to eat something, someone from the (Military Security Agency) VBA and (civilian security agency) BIA would say: ‘Don't go there, they sing songs to (Bosniak's wartime commander) Naser Oric, they sing songs here and there'… I said, leave me alone with the songs,” Vucic said.
In 2006, Oric was sentenced to two years imprisonment by the Hague Tribunal for failing to prevent the deaths of five Bosnian Serb detainees and the mistreatment of 11 others from late 1992 to early 1993. In 2008, the Appeals Chamber reversed the first instance conviction and acquitted Oric of all charges.
Vucic promised that the relevant institutions would deal with the case.
The Interior Ministry did not answer N1's queries about the incident.