Serbian filmmaker's comments on prison camps in BiH spark reactions among PoWs

NEWS 23.02.2021 17:11
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Source: REUTERS/Danilo Krstanovic

There is no law to sanction those humiliating the war victims and the victims are entitled to no right, prisoner of war from Bosnia and Herzegovina said in response to the comments by Serbia's filmmaker Predrag Antonijevic and journalist Milomir Maric, who labelled the concentration camps from the Bosnian 1992-95 war as “propaganda.”

The image of PoW Fikret Alic who was imprisoned in the Keraterm and Trnopolje concentration camps appeared on the front page of American magazine ‘Time’ in summer 1992, where he is standing behind a barbed wire with protruding ribs and a hollow face.

But, for Antonijevic and Maric he was “the man suffering tuberculosis, being kind of skinny.”

Maric hosted Antonijevic in a Happy TV programme on the occasion of his most recent film ‘Dara from Jasenovac’ (Dara iz Jasenovca), the story about the atrocities of the WW II concentration camp in what is today Croatia's Slavonija region, which was run by the authorities of then Nazi-puppet Independent State of Croatia.

The conversation shifted to the Bosnian war of the 1990s and the two started discussing the camps that held the non-Serb prisoners in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

They denied the nature of those camps, claiming that those were collection centres.

“That was a collective centre to hide them from someone who would kill them. They fed him afterwards, took the skinny one, presented him in a circus in Europe. Well, that was their propaganda,” said Maric.

From the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he added, “the whole world propaganda wanted to prove that the Nazis of the new age have appeared,” and Antonijevic agreed.

This conversation sparked the reactions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of the region, first on social networks and then in written statements.

Some Twitter users called the remarks “scandalous,” while others noted this was “a recipe how to humiliate the victims of Jasenovac, too.”

Alic, who survived the Keraterm and Trnopolje concentration camps said it was about time to pass a law on genocide denial ban and to stop “spitting on the victims of all nations.”

“Nobody should care if I was a Muslim or another religion. There was enough of nationalism, people, we have been moving backwards for thirty years. Instead of building the brotherhood, we are building hatred,” Alic told N1.

The PoW Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina recalled that “the truth” was established by the verdicts of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia in The Hague as well as the genocide intention both in Srebrenica and Prijedor area, where the camps were located, and that there is no need to prove anything.

“This has been done and we continue with the truth,” the association said.

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