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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



Serbian President speaks to screens in virtual rally

May 17, 2020

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic held his party’s first video rally on Saturday, speaking from the center of a room full of screens.

The video rally is part of the campaign for the parliamentary and local elections which have been called for June 21, amid appeals by the opposition for their postponement.

Vucic, leader of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), told the party faithful that their priorities are health care, education and investments.

According to him, earlier investments in the health care system meant that the country could reconstruct hospitals making it better prepared for the coronavirus pandemic.

The president said that he would invest effort to attract more direct foreign investments with the government as the biggest investor building infrastructure.

Vucic told his party members that he believes in the “energy, efforts and hard work of every Serbian man”. “I know we can do better,” he said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a600348/Serbian-President-speaks-to-screens-in-virtual-rally.html

EU calls on Serbia to enable international observers to monitor elections

May 17, 2020

European Commission (EC) urged the authorities in Serbia to enable the international observers to monitor the overall election process in the country, N1 reported.

“Conditions need to be in place for an international observation mission led by ODIHR to monitor the electoral conditions, campaign and conduct,” the Commission told N1.

The official Brussels also called on the Serbian authorities to “build on and fully implement” the commitments taken under the inter-party dialogue led by the European Parliament.

“It is now more important than ever that all citizens and political actors have full confidence in the integrity of the electoral system,” said the Commission, adding that it was crucial to have the upcoming elections held in line with the ODIHR recommendations.

“Especially in the current circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic, in which certain activities might still be restricted, the role of free media, of a level playing field for political actors, and the proactive role of media regulators is important,” said the institution.

The Commission monitors developments in Serbia closely and is calling on all sides to display “restraint and respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law.”

“There is no place for violence in a democratic society,” said the Commission

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a600174/EU-calls-on-Serbia-to-enable-international-observes-to-monitor-elections.html

Montenegrin bishop, priests released after 72-hour detention

May 17, 2020

Montenegrin bishop Joanikije and eight priests of Montenegro and the Littoral Metropolitanate were released Saturday morning after 72-hour long detention over a liturgy that was organised despite the gathering ban in that country, Montenegrin media reported.

The bishop and the priests were detained after organising a liturgy on May 12, on the St. Vasil Day, in the western town Niksic, which was attended by several thousands of believers, despite the gathering ban. 

“Your support means the continuation of our battle for our sanctuary. We have had a small disagreement with the authorities. They realised how much St. Vasil means for this town,” Joanikije said as the crowd was shouting: “We want liturgies.”

The bishop said it was necessary to be careful because of the virus but that St. Vasil saved the people and Montenegro.

http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a600130/Montenegrin-bishop-priests-released-after-72-hour-detention.html

Dacic warns of fratricidal war in Montenegro, drawing sharp reaction

May 17, 2020

Serbian Foreign MInister Ivica Dacic said on Saturday that that the situation on Montenegro is on the verge of “fratricidal war” following the arrest of a Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Bishop.

Bishop Joanikije and a group of priests were arrested earlier this week on the feast of St Vasilije following a service which was attended by a large number of the faithful in the northern town of Niksic.

“There has never been an arrest of a SPC Bishop in any country and the situation is on the verge of a fratricidal war between Serbs and Montenegrins,” Dacic told the pro-government Happy TV. “Imagine if we arrested Muftis or Catholic Bishops,” he added.

His words drew sharp condemnation from the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry which said in a written statement that Dacic “has once again harshly and dangerously interfered in Montenegro's internal affairs”.

“Dacic, using the rhetoric of Milosevic's spokesman in the 1990s, has once again irresponsibly, harshly and dangerously interfered in the internal affairs of Montenegro and has evidently forgotten what his position is and what it entails,” the statement said.

“Without underestimating his war-time experience and contribution to the fratricidal conflict and Serbia's confrontation with its neighbors during the breakup of Yugoslavia and the capacity to often stand on an exclusively nationalist platform in the ensuing years, he has surpassed himself this time,” the statement added.

“Despite the verbal assaults on Montenegro from Serbia, which seem to be one of the trump cards for the coming elections, we want to say once again that the health of the citizens is Montenegro's absolute priority at this time,” it said, adding that the behavior of the church elders showed that their priorities are different in this situation.

SPC elders and the faithful in Montenegro have been protesting against the law on freedom of confession which was adopted late last year and which the SPC believes is meant to seize its properties and reduce its rights and influence in the country.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a600338/Dacic-warns-of-fratricidal-war-in-Montenegro-drawing-sharp-reaction-from-Podgorica.html

Court annuls opposition leader's list, acting at appeal by SNS party

May 17, 2020

Sabac Mayor and leader of the opposition 'Together for Serbia' (ZZS) party, Nebojsa Zelenovic, said that a competent court in Novi Sad acted upon the appeal by the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and annulled the decision by Sabac Election Commission forming 'Nebojsa Zelenovic – Sabac is ours' list.

The decision was made over procedural mistakes made by notaries, who verified 406 signatures of persons without providing other necessary personal details. Zelenovic assessed this was the notaries' mistake and announced an appeal.

“It will be determined in the upcoming days if they did so on purpose or unintentionally, and what's the nature of their wrongful conduct in one such responsible and important matter. We will ask the Notary Chamber to declare on this matter,” he said.

At the same time, Zelenovic said, the court allowed the SNS City Board to add the name of leader Aleksandar Vucic although there was no consent to add the name to the list.

“That was OK and this was not,” said ZZS leader, adding that he would launch procedures before the Constitutional Court and competent local and international organisations.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a600284/Court-annuls-opposition-leader-s-list-acting-at-appeal-by-SNS-party.html

Ruling SNS party marks beginning of campaign, healthcare among top priorities

May 17, 2020

Healthcare, education and investments will be top priorities for the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), the President of Serbia and SNS leader Aleksandar Vucic said Saturday, marking the beginning of the campaign for the upcoming elections in Serbia, set to take place on June 21.

Speaking in an online conference, Vucic said Serbia managed to recover the hospitals across the country owing to the investments in the healthcare sector, which is why it was more prepared to face the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“What we need is investing more in the healthcare system. We wish we never again experience a situation that we were in the past,” said Vucic, adding that the country will try to attract direct foreign investors but that the state will be the largest investor of all.

According to several relevant sources, he said, Serbia would feel the upcoming economic crisis the least and, according to his own assessments, the country will end the year having higher GDP:

“People say we cannot attract investors because we don't have a coast. Do Switzerland or Austria have one? What matters the most is how much you work. It is all up to us. We have the most beautiful country in the world and we have to work now, work hard and believe in ourselves,” said Vucic.

He also assessed that the nations who are small but work hard outrun those who got settled, and that Serbia is one of those countries that makes progress and grows bigger.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a600252/Ruling-SNS-party-marks-beginning-of-campaign-healthcare-among-top-priorities.html

Protest against mass for Bleiburg killings draws thousands in Sarajevo

May 16, 2020

Several thousands of Sarajevo citizens gathered Saturday in front of the WWII Eternal Flame memorial to raise their voice against the Mass for Nazi supporters killed in Bleiburg in 1945, which was held at Sarajevo's Sacred Heart Cathedral as they were protesting.

"Nobody minds holding of Masses, but if it is for Bleiburg, then it is a disaster. Glorifying fascism is disastrous for civilisation. And that's why we are here to defend our homeland and civilisation in the fight against fascism," one of the protesters told N1.

Strong police forces secured the gathering as well as the area around the cathedral, where the religious ceremony took place.

According to Sarajevo Canton Interior Ministry Spokesperson, Mirza Hadziabdic, no incident was reported during the protest that gathered approximately 5,000 participants.

The Mass announcement sparked strong reactions among anti-fascists and activists, who slammed Bosnia's Archbishop Vinko Puljic for agreeing to lead the ceremony.

Despite the objections, the mass received the support of the Vatican official representative in Bosnia. 

Amid a Yugoslav army offensive aimed at defeating pro-Nazi and anti-communist forces, tens of thousands of mostly pro-fascist Croat soldiers and their families fled in 1945 toward Austria to seek help from the British army, only to be turned back by the Brits right into the hands of anti-fascists.

In and around the Austrian town of Bleiburg, thousands of the so-called Ustashas were killed.

The Yugoslav forces saw the slaughter they committed as punishment for the tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, Roma and anti-fascists killed by the Ustasha during WWII.

After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Croatia began commemorating the Bleiburg victims with a large gathering near the Austrian town every year.

Croatian nationalists perceive the controversial annual event as a symbol of their suffering under communism.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a600188/Protest-against-mass-for-Bleiburg-killings-draws-thousands-in-Sarajevo.html

Serbian President orders army to help contain migrants

May 16, 2020

President Aleksandar Vucic issued an order to deploy parts of the Army of Serbia to the territory of the northwestern Sid municipality, to provide support to the local police in securing the migrant centres in the area, the Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

Vucic said he ordered the Army members to be grouped at three migrant centres around Sid, which host some 1,500 migrants, in accordance with the assessment of situation provided by security institutions and initiative of the residents in this municipality.

The President told Prva TV the military police would take over all three migrant centres.

He also said the local population was feeling unsafe due to the robberies and unauthorised intrusions into their property, which started happening after the camps reopened.

Responding to N1's question about the recent protest of extreme right-wing groups against migrants in Serbia, European Commission said that any violence against refugees and migrants as well as any other vulnerable group is “unacceptable.”

“Serbia, on its way to the EU, needs to guarantee in law and in practice fundamental rights and freedoms for all individuals, including migrants and refugees. The Commission will continue to monitor this situation closely in the framework of Serbia’s accession negotiations,” said the Commission.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a600196/Serbian-President-orders-army-to-help-contain-migrants.html

EPP condemns attacks against Bosnian cardinal for leading the Bleiburg Mass

May 15, 2020

he European People’s Party (EPP) Working Group on Intercultural and Religious Dialogue wrote to Bosnia’s Catholic Archbishop expressing their support for him after he came under fire for agreeing to lead a commemorative Mass for those killed in the 1945 Bleiburg massacre in Sarajevo on Saturday, saying they are “deeply saddened” about the “heavy media attacks” he is exposed to and that they count on the EU for the right of religious groups in Bosnia “to be respected and not to fear for their security in exercising their religious services.”

Amid a Yugoslav army offensive aimed at defeating pro-Nazi and anti-communist forces, tens of thousands of mostly pro-fascist Croat soldiers and their families fled in 1945 toward Austria to seek help from the British army, only to be turned back by the Brits right into the hands of anti-fascists.

In and around the Austrian town of Bleiburg, allegedly thousands of the so-called Ustashas were killed.The Yugoslav forces saw the slaughter they committed as punishment for the tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, Roma and anti-fascists killed by the Ustasha during WWII.

After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Croatia began commemorating the Bleiburg victims with a large gathering near the Austrian town every year but it was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The organisers of the event, the Honorary Bleiburg Platoon, said it will be held in different cities instead, among them in Sarajevo.

It will take place at the Sarajevo Sacred Heart Cathedral on Saturday.

The EPP Group mentioned that it organised a fact-finding mission to Bosnia in an effort to “encourage a solution for the electoral impasse through dialogue between religious communities in the country” and that they fully support the Cardinal’s “important role for peace and reconciliation” in the country.

The letter then reminded of a resolution the European Parliament adopted on the 80th anniversary of the start of WWII “and the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe, 10 years after the resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism, wherein we acknowledge the importance of keeping the memories of the past alive, because there can be no reconciliation without remembrance.”

“In this light, on behalf of the EPP’s Group Working Group on Intercultural Relations and Interreligious Dialogue, we stand by your right for the culture of remembrance and support to fully exercise your right to lead the Mass on Saturday for the victims of the Bleiburg tragedy,” the letter said.

“As we became aware of the heavy media attacks against the Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the recent days, we are deeply saddened that your right for the culture of remembrance is hampered,” it said.

“We rely on the action of our external action Service and the actions of EU delegation on the ground that should ensure media freedom for all the constituent people and communities and the right of religious groups and religious minorities to be respected and not to fear for their security in exercising their religious services,” the letter read.

The EPP Group did “the utmost” to help Bosnia overcome the coronavirus crisis “and we are doing our best for this country not to be forgotten on its European path,” the EPP Group argued.

They also wrote that they are aware that the Archbishop informed the Holy See “regarding the breach of the international agreement for the freedom of the Catholic Church and for fearing for the security and the freedom of religion of the Catholics in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

“Rest assured that if this situation aggravates, we will address this issue in the European Parliament as well,” says the letter, signed by Zeljana Zovko, Jan Olbrycht and Gyorgy Holvenyi.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a434148/EPP-condemns-attack-against-Bosnian-cardinal-for-leading-the-Bleiburg-Mass.html

Vatican's representative in Bosnia: Support for bishops over Bleiburg Mass

May 15, 2020

Bosnian capital city of Sarajevo proved its status of 'European Jerusalem' and such role requires building of new bridges and preserving safe and civilised relationships, Pope's special representative in Bosnia, Luigi Pezzuto, said ahead of the planned Mass for Nazi supporters killed in Bleiburg in 1945, which sparked reactions among Sarajevans who objected the event.

“Condemning all crimes, regardless of who committed them, a prayer for the souls of the innocent ones and forgiveness, are the ground for those civilised relationships,” the Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina told the Catholic Weekly (Katolički tjednik).

The Mass was announced by Bosnia's Catholic Archbishop Vinko Puljic, which sparked reactions among anti-fascist organisations and activists as well as some officials.

Some organisations announced holding a protest during the ceremony, set to take place this Saturday, May 16, at Sarajevo's main cathedral.

The Apostolic Nuncio's Office fully supports the statement by Bosnia's Bishops' Conference, which among other things said that the Catholic bishops resolutely rejected any unjust judgements regarding the Mass for the Bleiburg victims set to take place at Sarajevo cathedral on Saturday, said Pezzuto.

He also recalled that Pope Francis told Bosnia Presidency members during his visit to Sarajevo on June 6, 2015, that Sarajevo and Bosnia have a special meaning for Europe and the whole world.

The capital of Bosnia rightly holds the title of 'European Jerusalem' and it actually is a crossroads of cultures, peoples and religions, and such role requires building the new bridges over and over again, while recovering those that already exist and preserving them for the sake of safe and civilised relationships, said the Pope's representatives.

Amid a WWII Yugoslav army offensive aimed at defeating pro-Nazi and anti-communist forces, tens of thousands of mostly pro-fascist Croat soldiers and their families fled in 1945 toward Austria to seek help from the British army, only to be turned back by the Brits right into the hands of anti-fascists.

In and around the Austrian town of Bleiburg, thousands of the so-called Ustashas were killed.

The Yugoslav forces saw the slaughter they committed as punishment for the tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, Roma and anti-fascists killed by the Ustasha during WWII.

After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Croatia began commemorating the Bleiburg victims with a large gathering near the Austrian town every year.

Croatian nationalists perceive the controversial annual event as a symbol of their suffering under communism.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a434054/Vatican-s-representative-in-Bosnia-Support-for-bishops-over-Bleiburg-Mass.html

Bosnian court sentences two Algerians to 15 years for a murder

May 15, 2020

The cantonal court in Bosnia's northeastern city of Tuzla sentenced in a first-instance verdict migrants Hicham Bellarbi and Karim Chemini to 15 years each, for a murder of another migrant in July last year.

The court found the Algerians guilty of murdering their fellow citizen, Abderrezak Brahimi, whom they first tried to rob and then stabbed several times in Tuzla downtown, on July 30, 2019. Brahimi succumbed to injuries at the Tuzla Clinical Centre soon after the attack.

The court extended the detention for the convicts in line with the Criminal Code, which defines the period spent in detention following the first-instance verdict.

The prosecutors will decide on the potential appeal to the court's decision.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a434008/Bosnian-court-sentences-two-Algerians-to-15-years-for-a-murder.html

World-leading Jewish rights group urges Bosnia authorities to ban Bleiburg mass

May 15, 2020

World-leading Jewish human rights group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has urged Bosnian authorities to ban the recently announced Catholic Mass for the Bleiburg killings when tens of thousands of Croatian pro-Nazis were killed by the then Yugoslav authorities.

Honouring “the genocidal Ustasha state (Independent State of Croatia - NDH) is not only an insult to its victims and their families, but also to all those who opposed the crimes committed by the Ustasha,” the Center said in their Thursday statement, referring to the World War II Croatian puppet pro-Nazi regime.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the events at Bleiburg, a small Austrian town on the border with Slovenia, where thousands of members of the Nazi-allied fascist Ustasha regime, together with pro-regime civilians, had surrendered to the British forces in the closing stages of World War II, only to be turned over to communist Partisans who then sent them on a death march back to Yugoslavia.

The Catholic mass in Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina - which during World War II was part of the fascist Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia (NDH) - had been announced as a replacement for the open-air gathering normally held at Bleiburg itself, due to the restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ustasha regime, which ran the Nazi-allied NDH on the territory which comprised much of present-day Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1941 to 1945, persecuted ethnic minorities, including Serbs, Jews, and Roma. At its main extermination camp at Jasenovac, official estimates say that more than 80,000 people had perished, including some 20,000 children up to 14 years of age.

Croatian nationalists, on the other hand, see the controversial annual event as a symbol of their suffering under communism in the former Yugoslavia before they fought a war for independence in the 1990s.

The central commemoration ceremony in Sarajevo is scheduled to be performed by Archbishop Vinko Puljic, the highest-ranking clergyman of the Catholic Church in Bosnia. A parallel event is to be held at a graveyard in the Croatian capital.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a433924/World-leading-Jewish-rights-group-urges-Bosnia-authorities-to-ban-Bleiburg-mass.html

CoE: No place in Europe for hate against LGBTI; Serbia not good place for them

May 15, 2020

Hateful and prejudiced statements, especially by officials and opinion-makers, are a major obstacle to achieving inclusion and equal human rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people in Europe today, Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic said, calling on all member states of the Council of Europe to take firm action against hate speech targeting LGBTI people, which is dangerously spreading across Europe.

The statement comes on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, observed on May 17 worldwide.

“This year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is taking place in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. I co-signed a joint statement with the UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and others alerting to the impacts of COVID-19 on LGBTI people and calling on states to ensure that the response to the pandemic takes into account their vulnerability and specific needs,” she said, expressing concern over the statements by some religious leaders in Ukraine and Turkey associating LGBTI people with the outbreak of diseases or a supposed divine punishment.

Serbia is not a good place for LGBTI+ community, according to 82 percent of the polled by IDEAS Centre and Gay-Lesbian Info Centre GLIC ahead of May 17. Over two-thirds believe Serbia doesn’t care enough about the LGBTI+ groups, while only 14 percent feel free to declare themselves. Over a half, or 59 percent, covered by the poll said they suffered some violence in the last year, including 14 percent being victims of sexual abuse.

 “It’s time to stop the spread of hate against LGBTI people. Europe has been at the forefront of efforts to better recognise the rights of LGBTI people and it is imperative that member states react quickly to stem this apparent backlash. I call on political leaders to publicly condemn incitement to hatred against LGBTI people, and to ensure that the necessary tools are in place to investigate and prosecute hate speech and hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics,” Mijatovic stressed.

She said LGBTI human rights defenders “must be protected” and “able to conduct their work in a safe and enabling environment.”

“I also call on the media to report on LGBTI issues objectively and with respect. It is the member states’ responsibility to address societal prejudices against LGBTI people, to protect their human rights, and to ensure that they can fully participate in our societies as equal citizens,” she added.

Mijatovic recalled expressing concerns over hate speech and threats against LGBTI people in several member states.

“During my visit to Poland in March 2019, I condemned inflammatory statements made at the time by high-ranking officials in the run up to European and national elections. Since then, over 100 municipalities and regions in the country have adopted declarations and charters which, implicitly or explicitly, exclude LGBTI people, making them feel unwelcome in their own hometowns. Some TV channels aired anti-LGBTI documentaries, adding to this negative climate,” she said.

She also recalled of urging the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Georgia to protect Pride marches after outpourings of hateful comments and threats sought to prevent the marches from taking place.

“These are just a few examples from my work, but the trend is disturbingly widespread,” said the commissioner.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a600044/CoE-warns-against-homophobia-transphobia-and-biphodia.html

Former Croatian President: Bleiburg Mass in Sarajevo has a political background

May 15, 2020

The Mass commemorating the Bleiburg victims from 1945 which is to be held in Sarajevo on Saturday is an “attempt to change history” and “has a political background,” Croatia’s former President, Stjepan Mesic, told N1 on Friday.

“Of course Sarajevo is not the place for such an event because in Sarajevo, as in many other places, so many crimes were committed during the war, killings went on for four years,” he said.

"When the Third Reich capitulated, the Ustashas and the Chetniks should have as well, but they didn’t,” he said.

Amid a Yugoslav army offensive aimed at defeating pro-Nazi and anti-communist forces, tens of thousands of mostly pro-fascist Croat soldiers and their families fled in 1945 toward Austria to seek help from the British army, only to be turned back by the Brits right into the hands of anti-fascists.

In and around the Austrian town of Bleiburg, allegedly thousands of the so-called Ustashas were killed.

The Yugoslav forces saw the slaughter they committed as punishment for the tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, Roma and anti-fascists killed by the Ustasha during WWII.

After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Croatia began commemorating the Bleiburg victims with a large gathering near the Austrian town every year but it was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The organisers of the event, the Honorary Bleiburg Platoon, said it will be held in different cities instead, among them in Sarajevo.

It will take place at the Sarajevo Sacred Heart Cathedral and will be led by Bosnia’s Catholic Archbishop Vinko Puljic.

According to Mesic, what happened in Bleiburg is not being portrayed adequately by the Church.

What really happened was an attempt to break the siege and that took about nine to ten lives, Mesic said.

“This is how many died in Bleiburg. The truth is that the civilians were let go,” he claimed.

Mesic said that killings took place for four years before that and that racial laws were implemented which eliminated the lives of Roma, Jews, the Orthodox and anti-fascists. The Ustashas used women and children as a living shield and the partisans knew that and let them all go, he said.

“Fascism was killing those who were different, based on race, while anti-fascism fought fascists, against those who wanted to create the world in which some would be slaves and others would be superhumans,” he explained.

Mesic argued that “a good part” of Croatia’s leadership today is behaving “as if nothing happened before Bleiburg.”

“How many were killed in Jasenovac (Ustasha-run concentration camp), but also consider the Roma, who didn’t even make it to Jasenovac, the Roma were taken to Gradina and killed with clubs,” he said.

He explained that nearly all the Roma children in his place of birth “didn’t show up to school one day” and that he found out they were all taken away.

“Not to mention how many Jews were killed. Those who joined the Partisans were saved,” he added.

Mesic accused the Church of hypocrisy, arguing that “if you accuse someone of retorsion, then you have to say retorsion to what."

"Killings were taking place for four years and the Church didn’t want to see it,” he said.

Mesic then argued that the Catholic Church never wants to mention that “more than 100 Catholic priests, led by Svetozar Rittig, the Priest of Zagreb’s St. Mark's Church, participated in the People’s Liberation War.”

He then criticised Croatia’s PM, Andrej Plenkovic, and the country’s President, Zoran Milanovic, for “acting like nothing happened but that Bleiburg just came up" and that this behaviour serves them for election purposes.

The Mass "commemorates the downfall of the Ustasha state, and the plaque in Bleiburg should be changed at the place where it says 'in memory of the Croatian army'," he said.

"The Ustashas were not Croatia’s army, they were a military formation of a political party. The Croatian army ended World War II on the side of allies and not on the side of the Third Reich,” he concluded.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a600040/Fmr-Croatian-President-sees-Bleiburg-was-as-the-change-of-history.html

Tensions in Montenegro continues, SPC clergy still detained, protests go on

May 15, 2020

As the legal procedure against Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) clergy in Montenegro who have violated the ban on gatherings continues, the protests against their detention go on as well, while Belgrade cautiously reacts, expecting the release of the priests and insisting they won’t interfere with domestic politics in the tiny coastal republic, N1 reported on Friday.

 The SPC clergy was detained for organizing a liturgy and feast for the St, Vasilije Day in some parts of the country.

Despite the ban on gathering still in force in Montenegro, people rally in big groups demanding the release of a bishop Joanikije and several other SPC priestswho are in 72-hour detention.

A group of 55 University professors joined the request for the release of the clergy.

At the same time, the head of the SPC in Montenegro Metropolitan Amfilohije offered himself as the guilty one, saying that if anyone should be arrested, it should be him.

Montenegro’s prosecutors say the procedure against the bishop and priests will end by a legal deadline, and add that some witnesses have already given statements.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a600058/Montenegro-sees-continued-protest-against-detention-of-SPC-clergy.html

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