Christmas in Sarajevo

 Christmas in Sarajevo as a Catholic holiday.

I have been living in Bosnia and Herzegovina for  the last six months. Since I first arrived here in June, I have travelled a lot, both in the country and in the neighbouring countries. This was a very intense period, and as the holiday season approached I found myself with no energy left to travel away for Christmas, and decided to spend this period in Sarajevo instead. That proved to be a very fortunate decision, not so much because of the airport chaos in Europe, but because it gave me the chance to be part of a very special environment in a city which, despite being now overwhelming populated by Muslims, is nevertheless determined to preserve its multicultural character and traditions. It also allowed me to better understand how religion as a cultural phenomenon works in Bosnia as a marker of difference among the Bosnians.

When I first told one of my closest friends in Sarajevo that instead of joining my family I would would spend Christmas alone in Sarajevo, he immediately offered to accompany me to the Midnight mass in one of Sarajevo’s Catholic churches. What I first thought was an act of hospitality based on friendship turned out to be a very old practice among the Muslims of Sarajevo. “We always go, every year. In Sarajevo everyone goes to the ‘ponocka’, not only the Catholics.” And his mother added that it has always been like that, even during communist rule.

When I asked around, this was confirmed by everyone. People even seemed to be surprised when I replied that I had never heard of such a thing, believers of a different religion celebrating in this way a holiday that they acknowledge not to belong to their own religious practice. For the Muslims with whom I spoke this is an established tradition that has become part of their own identity, while not at all diminishing their attachment and respect to their own religious tradition.

I chose to go to the Midnight mass at the Cathedral, in the centre of Sarajevo. When I got there, around 22h 30, the doors were still closed, but there was already a small crowd outside waiting. Much more people were walking along the main streets, between Bascarcija and the Marshall Tito street, killing time before the mass. The crowd gathered in front of the doors was composed by Catholics, who were keen on getting a good seat and rather anxious for the doors to open, although the night was not particularly cold, while the apparently more relaxed attitude of the Muslims reflected in fact their concern not to deprive the Catholics of the best available places, as that would not be a respectful thing to do.

When the doors finally opened I was very lucky to find myself a seat. In a matter of a few minutes the church was totally full, with people standing even on the main way, something I had never seen before, and many people remained outside, and followed the mass thanks to the loudspeakers installed at the square. On the front, in the seats reserved for representatives of other religions, the presence of Orthodox priests indicated that this tradition of attending the ‘Ponocka’ was not exclusive to the Muslims.  The Cardinal Vinko Pujic, who celebrated the mass, on his homily acknowledged and made a note of appreciation for the presence of non-Catholics at the Mass, before addressing the Catholics, in a speech that extorted them to recognise Bosnia as their homeland, concluding that ‘Ova je nasa zemlja’. That this is also the land of the Catholics (that is of the Bosnian Croats) is also stated by the non-Catholics, nowadays mostly Muslims, that attend the midnight mass.

This is not to suggest that the coexistence between Bosniaks and Croats is devoid of tension in Sarajevo. Tensions do exist, and are revealed, on the one hand,  by the Croats’ anxiety about becoming a residual minority in the city, and on the other by some Bosniaks’ resentment against the system of quotas in access to public jobs which grants the Croats a larger share than their demographic proportion. I will deal with these tensions in another post, but for now it is important to highlight that in any healthy society the coexistence among different groups (whatever may be the criteria of differentiation) is marked by occasional conflicts and very often by persistent latent tensions. The level of cohesion of a society is most accurately measured not by the presence of absence of tension, but by the consensual mechanisms that help manage difference on people’s every day lives. One of such mechanisms has just been described in this post.

The ‘Ponocka’ is lived by the inhabitants of Sarajevo as an event that is part of their identity as Sarajevans, an identity that transcends the barrier of religion, while at the same time framing Christmas as a specifically Catholic commemoration (I heard a foreign of protestant faith complaining about feeling discriminated by the fact that before 24th December people greet only the believers of Catholic faith).

The Christmas holiday season is marked marked in Sarajevo by a surprisingly successful juxtaposition of different traditions that goes beyond the Catholic dimension. However, the coexistence of different traditions is not always devoid of controversy. The main focus of this controversy has been, in recent years, the figure of Djeda Mraza, a controversy which I will elaborate upon on my next post, the second of a series of three posts dedicated to the holiday season in Sarajevo.

(A photographic coverage of this event can be seen here)

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‘Future post-History’ in Sarajevo

The exhibition by Bosnian artist Braco Dimitrijević, ‘Future post-History’, which was displayed at the Biennale of Venice last year, is now on display in Sarajevo, in the Vijećnica, the building of the National Library.

The history of this building offers a good image of the history of the city of Sarajevo. Built in neo-moorish style during Austrian rule, it immediately became on of the most important symbols of the city. The building was severely damaged in August 1992, when the Serb forces shelled it with incendiary bombs, as part of their tactical goal of destroying the cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. More than 2 million books and documents were lost forever but the building now is being restored, slowly, just like, slowly, the visible signs of the war are quietly disappearing from the face of Sarajevo.

The loss itself is irreversible, but as the visible signs of destruction slowly either disappear or become invisible to the eyes of those who live here, the city displays its resilience through a systematic effort to make life pleasant and exciting, while assuming its depleted heritage. Thus the title of the exhibition is particularly appropriate to contemporary Sarajevo: Future post-History.

The exhibition is composed of different elements: on the building’s façade, a portrait of a casual passer-by, on the main hall an installation composed of three boats which instead of sails have giant portraits of iconic figures, and on the rooms around video-works are continually displayed. All of these elements are recurrent in the artist’s career, repeated with some variations in exhibitions and interventions on the cityscape worldwide, as episodes of a single narrative that unfolds through time and space.

What makes this exhibition particularly special is that, instead of the clean white walls of a prestigious art gallery, we have the dust and the typical mess of a building in reconstruction, which reinforces the feeling of being upon a process, not something finished, closed to the future, but rather a journey that we don’t know where it may lead but still embark on.

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Hooligan violence as a challenge to Serbia’s European Integration ambitions

Yesterday evening, the football match between Italy and Serbia, for the European Championship qualifiers, had to be suspended due to the violent behaviour of Serbian hooligans. This happened two days after the Gay Pride Parade in Belgrade, which was marked by the violence of the attack against the Serbian police protecting the parade.

All of this happened a few days after the tenth anniversary of the fall of Slobodan Milošević. The strength of the extreme-right movements in Serbia is a sobering reminder that, although it is undeniable that Serbia has significantly changed since 2000, the legacy of the nationalist goals which helped bring Milošević to power and hold it for 13 years (since 1987), and the culture of violence through which these nationalistic goals were expressed are a serious threat to democracy and Serbia.

During the Pride Parade, unable to reach the LGTB activists, the crowd of 6000 members of extreme-right movements and hooligans supporters of Belgrade’s football clubs targeted the police instead. At least 124 policemen were injured. Such violence is much more than an expression of homophobic hatred. It is, above all, a direct attack to the state institutions of Serbia as a democracy. Although the level of violence in Genoa Yesterday didn’t by far reached the one in Belgrade tow days before, it represents yet another step on the challenge to Serbia as a democratic state, as the violence was exported to a country of Western Europe, to which the Serbian government is so much trying to portray its country as worthy of becoming a member of the European Union.

While in Belgrade the pretext behind the violence was the defence of traditional Serbian Christian values against the decadent and degrading values imposed by western liberalism, in Genoa there was no apparent  pretext. It was rioting for the sake of rioting, as a pure demonstration of might. An Albanian flag was burnt, producing thus an eye catching image. But it was not Albania or the Albanians that came under attack in this football match. It was Serbia’s image as a civilized country.

The Italian police is now under criticism for the failure of the security control at the entrance of the stadium, to which it responds that the Serbian authorities failed to inform them about the level of risk, and failed also to take preventive measures in Serbia before the departure of the supporters. According to the Italian officials, quoted by the Italian newspaper La Repubblicca:

“There was a critical moment at the influx phase (to the stadium): the control was not implemented due to the fact that we had to made them enter in order to avoid them devastating the city”

(“C’è stato un momento di criticità nella fase di afflusso: il controllo è stato vanificato dal fatto che abbiamo dovuto farli entrare per non far devastare la città”.)

Earlier in the day, Red Star supporters attacked the goalkeeper of the Serbian team, Vladimir Stojković. As Belgrade’s website B92 reports:

Stojaković recently joined city rivals Partizan FC and has since been the subject of verbal abuse of Red Star fans.
According to reports, a group of some 30 hooligans approached the team bus, while half a dozen of them entered the vehicle, throwing in a lit flare and “attempting to lynch Stojković”.

This is revealing of the sense of empowerment that these extremists feel. This sense of empowerment is justified. Once in the stadium, the Serbian players tried to cool down the hooligans by saluting them with the traditional three-fingers salute, which has a well-known nationalist connotation. A display of patriotism or a display of submission?

It can be argued that extremist far right violent movements exist all over Europe, and it’s true. This is a very serious European problem, and, at least in this regard, Serbia is quite well integrated in the wider European trends. Indeed a simple google search will make the readers aware of the extent of this integration. Serbia is regularly visited by neo-nazi activists from Western Europe, Russia and the USA, and has become one of the most promising countries for the flourishing on these movements.

What makes this phenomenon particularly worrying in the case of Serbia is that Serbia is not like the other European countries where these movements also have strong roots. Serbia is still a country in transition, which lacks a strong civil society, in which the concept of tolerance is often misunderstood if not simply dismissed, in which the alternative forces to the coalition now in power is composed of hard-line nationalists.

Two years ago I wrote a paper about this phenomenon (recently published as a book chapter here), which by then was already quite visible, but had not yet acquired the vigour it now seems to have. Since then, extremist movements in Serbia have clearly gained ground and became much more violent. Last year, extremists humiliated  the Serbian government by forcing it to cancel last year’s Gay Pride Parade. The credibility of their threats was asserted through the random attack by Partizan hooligans against a young French citizen, Brice Taton, who had travelled to Serbia to watch a football match. He was attacked while seating at a café and horribly beaten,  and died some weeks later of the injuries.

Afterwards, the Serbian government announced the intention to take measures to curb violence in sports events, and even to ban neo-nazi activities. But, as is evident now, whatever measures may have been taking, they failed to achieve their goal. Today the Serbian Minister of Justice, Slobodan Homem, declared that he believes that these incidents are not merely done by “kids who wish to protest against authorities”, but that they are “organized groups that have financial support”. This is just the same as inventing the wheel, of course, but it is, at least, the first time a member of the Serbian government acknowledges the political significance of these movements.

The Minister points to interest groups who which to undermine the process of EU accession in order to preserve their monopoles; to organized crime; but also to the interest of the opposition parties in weakening the government in order to force early elections. I believe this is a realistic accusation, which highlights how far is Serbia from being a stable consolidated democracy.

The Minister fails, however, to tackle the deeper sources from which these movements spring. Presenting them as mere tools of vested interests, overlooks the fact that these groups have agency of their own. They are ideologically inspired by the tradition of Serbian expansionist nationalism, or, at least, skilfully invoke Serbian nationalism in order to justify their actions. Such invocation successful resonates in the Serbian society. Thus, while the tribute to Brice Taton, last year, gathered 5000  people, the protest against this year’s Gay Parade, organized on the eve of the event, had 10 000 participants. The use of religious symbols and the presence of Orthodox priests in the protests is also revealing. Indeed, sectors of the Serbian Orthodox Church have been consistently, over the years, supported and stimulated clero-fascist groups like Obraz, or Dveri, important elements in this multitude of extremist right-wing groups.

The judiciary system is particularly complicit in the failure to deter these groups, by systematically failing to trial and convict its members, in particular football supporters’ groups, of  a number of violent crimes committed over the last decade, as the courageous investigation led by B92 journalist Brankica Stankovic demonstrated. The level of tolerance of the judiciary was further exposed by the aquittal of the Partizan holligans who threatened the journalist to death after her investigation was broadcast.

But, although the current government is now openly challenged by informal groups resorting to violence which appeal to the Serb nationalist or, as they put it, traditional values, as a way to attract supporters and benefit from the tolerance of the larger sectors of society, the government still fails to tackle the primary source of strength these groups have, which is the enduring presence of of nationalism in Post-Milosevic’s Serbia, a legacy which has meanwhile been transmitted to a new generation among which extremism is finding fertile ground.

This, of course, not an easy task, but is one that is not being taken with enough energy by the government, because amidst its own ranks resistance to such an endeavour is great, as was clear by the difficulties faced to approve the resolution condemning the Massacre of Srebrenica. And this is, even more than the strength of extremist movements, the real obstacle towards Serbia’s European integration. Or, at least, it should be.

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Visegrad: Remembering the Bikavac fire massacre.

Last Sunday, 27 June, attended the ceremony which marked the 18th anniversary of the Bikavac fire, in the town of Visegrad in Eastern Bosnia. This was a very simple yet moving ceremony, in which family and friends of the victims paid tribute to them in the most dignified way.  I felt very gratified for having had the opportunity to witness such emotional event, which was deeply sad, but also, through the example of dignity and strength revealed by its participants, very inspiring.

Photo: the arrival at the site of the Bikavac fire.

On the night of 27 June 1992, around 70 persons were locked in a small house on the Bikavac hill, after which the house was set on fire. The crime was meticulously prepared, to make sure that nobody would survive to tell the story. All the exits had been blocked by heavy furniture, and a heavy garage door was placed at the house’s entry. Only one person, Zehra Turjacanin, survived, albeit heavily burnt, by escaping through a narrow fringe between the door and the garage gate, and eluding the surveilance of the armed men, who were busy celebrating Vidovdan by listening to loud nationalistic songs and intoxicating themselves with drugs and alcohol.

Amid widespread indifference and oblivion, a small group of determined people works in order to pursue justice for the victims and keep their memory alive. Only around one hundred persons attended the commemorative ceremony, organized by the Women Victims of War (Zene zrtva rata). As we walked the slope leading to the place where once the house stood, it occurred to me that the number of participants was very close to the number of victims. I couldn’t stop imagining them being gathered in the same place, eighteen years earlier, surrounded by their executioners. When we arrived, a wave of emotion spread, and tears were shed while some of the women covered their heads with a scarves as a sign of respect. Nobody cried, though. Instead, people looked at the improvised exhibition installed for the occasion, showing the names of the victims, depicting the images of some of them, as well as photos of some of the Chetniks who terrorized them and of  Zehra Turjacanin, whose testimony at the ICTY provided crucial evidence for the conviction of the leader of the local para-military unit, Milan Lukic, to life in prison.

No politicians were present, no reporters either, such tragic event not being considered important enough amidst the countless atrocities committed during the war. However, the small number of participants did not diminish in any way the significance of the commemoration In fact, it rather highlighted it, as representative of all those forgotten massacres. Far from being an isolated incident, the Bikavac fire was only one among many crimes committed in the area of Visegrad, as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population, targeting the Muslim inhabitants, in order to change the demographic structure of the area, that is, to transform it into a exclusively Serb area. Such goal was successfully achieved. Eighteen years later, very few Bosniaks have returned to the municipality of Visegrad, and, I was told, only two or three have returned to the city itself. Of the presence of the Muslims in the city, very few traces remain. One of the mosques destroyed during the was was rebuilt, but on the location of the other, a small garden has been planted, in which the cross-shaped pathways further desecrate what was once a place of worship. Only the Drina river and the magnificent Mehmed pasa Sokolovic Bridge, made famous by Ivo Andric’s book ‘The Bridge on the Drina’, still confer some beauty to the town, in which main square a statue to the Serb fallen soldiers stands, facing the river and its famous bridge in front of the Hotel Visegrad, where Serb fighters ‘heroically’ got drunk before and after executing rows of Muslim civilians on the bridge and throwing their bodies to the Drina. The tribute to the ‘Fallen soldiers’, with which the Bosnian Serbs try to highlight their own suffering stands is striking contrast with the absence of memorials to the real victims of genocide in Visegrad.

Photo: an Italian soldier of the EU Police Mission observes the participants as they leave the place where the house once stood.

After the fire, what was left of the house in Bikavac was bulldozed and removed to unknown locations, along with any remains of the victims, in order to erase all traces of the crime. The land was then transformed into an improvised waste dump, and as we were standing there, listening to the short speech delivered by Bakira Hasecic, the leader of the ‘Women Victims of War’, and to the prayer pronounced by the local Imam, the silence on the audience was interrupted by the noise of plastic bottles and other rubbish under our feet. As a proof that a house was once there, only one section of the houses’s fence remains, but the organizers marked the four corners of the house with wooden sticks, which allowed me to realize how small it was, and to imagine how packed it was on that tragic night.

Photo: Esad Tufekcic and other participants engage in a prayer for their loved ones, at the end of the ceremony. Photo by Sven Gunnar Simonsen.

Among the participants on the ceremony, was a man, Esad Tufekcic, who lost his then 28 year old wife Dzehva, his four year old daugter Elmaghter and two year old son Eldar. He spoke to the foreigners present, myself and my friend Sven who came with me, and a few american students. Asked by one of them what did such event mean to him, this man, whose face was the very image of pain and trauma, reminded us that he had lost his entire family, for whose remains he has been searching for in the last eighteen years, and expressed his sorrow and outrage by the fact that the people who committed such atrocity can return to Visegrad and welcome as heroes.

This was a reference to the recent release of Mitar Vasijlevic, a leading member of Milan Lukic’s ‘White Eagles’.  Released from prison in March 2010, after having served ten of the 15 years to which he was condemned by the ICTY, he was greeted in Visegrad by a fanfare and celebrated by hundreds of people (photo here),  a crude reminder of the long road yet to be travelled before we can even start talking of reconciliation in Bosnia. The feeling that justice has not been served in Visegrad is further highlighted by the fact that, while in his own trial, the prosecution failed to proof beyond reasonable doubt his involvement in the Bikavac massacre, as well as on a similar crime, committed one week earlier on Pionirska Street, which resulted in the death of 59 persons, such proof was subsequently established in the context of the trial of Milan Lukic, who in 20 July 2009 was condemned to life in prison. Other participants in this crime remain unpunished, as do many others in the countless crimes of the Bosnian genocide.

As was stated in the judgement of Milan and Sredoje Lukic (pag. 239),

“In the all too long, sad and wretched history of man’s inhumanity to man, the Pionirska street and Bikavac fires must rank high. At the close of the 20th century, a century marked by war and bloodshed on a colossal scale, these horrific events remain imprinted on the memory for the viciousness of the incendiary attack, for the obvious premeditation and calculation that defined it, for the sheer callousness, monstrosity and brutality of herding, trapping and locking the victims in the two houses, thereby rendering them helpless in the ensuing inferno and for the degree of pain and suffering inflicted on the victims as they were burnt alive.”

One of the most beautiful regions in Europe, Eastern Bosnia is now a desolated region, burdened by the weight of genocide and economic stagnation, the two faces of the legacy of the war. What was achieved with all these crimes? Endless suffering for the victims and his relatives and friends, and moral corruption among those who fail to feel outraged by such atrocities, and a whole society whose future remains hijacked by those few which the war and its aftermath brought wealth and power.

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Same-sex marriage now legal in Portugal

Today is a day to celebrate, for those of us who support liberal values and believe in equality. Last December the Portuguese parliament approved a law on same-sex civil marriage, making it legal by removing the provision on the law which stated that marriage was restricted to heterosexual unions. This was a great victory, but an important battle still lied ahead: the conservative President of the Republic, Anibal Cavaco Silva was against it, and around him rallied the most reactionary sectors of Portuguese society.

They failed, however, to mobilize the population, who remained either unsympathetic or indifferent to their  ‘sacred cause’ for the defence of the traditional family values. As regards the President, he sent the law to the Constitutional Court, which then stated that it was in accordance with the constitution. A political veto by the President was, however, still possible, as in Portugal the president’s powers are wider than in most of other european republics.

Tonight the President announced on a declaration broadcast live to the country, that he has decided to promulgate the law. In his statement it’s clear that he is a defeated man. He laments the fact that a softer solution has not been chosen such as the one of creating another institution similar to marriage, as exists in states like the United Kingdom, and regretted that Portugal is one now among 7 countries in the world to have a law which gender abolishes discrimination in a legal institution.

Well, for me, I have good reason to be happy  because Portugal has now a law of civil marriage that does not discriminate between men and women, which allows same sex couples to be legally recognized as having the same dignity as different-sex marriages.

In a moment when Portugal is on the world news because of the state of its finances, and increasingly pointed as the next in line after the Greek crisis, it is great to have, for once, happy news about my country.

The approval of this law makes me proud of being a Portuguese citizen. As I have written in another post (about the cancellation of the gay parade in Belgrade last September), the way the gay and lesbian minority is treated, both by the state and by society, reveals not only the level of tolerance, but above all, an important shift in mentalities in which differences no longer bother ‘normal’ people. The evolution of the Portuguse society, in this regard, should be considered spectacular. Of course there is still widespread homophbia, and other forms of prejudice, but those will be more effectively fought now that we have this law. The fact that, unlike in Spain, the Catholic Church decided not to give active support to those opposing this law, and the fact that, unlike in Spain, the population did not respond to calls for the so-called defence of traditional family values, makes me even prouder of being a Portuguese. The difference in the way Spain dealt with a similar law tells a lot about the differences between both Iberian countries, but the way Portugal followed the steps of our Iberian brothers is a good reminder also of how much we have in common. Without the Spanish example, the efforts of those who fought for same-sex marriage in Portugal would probably not bear fruits so soon.

This is also the beauty of liberal ideas, they spread easily, as soon as we are bold enough to nurture them.

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Two multimedia projects about Bosnia:

I have recently visited the United States for a conference, where I had the chance to meet a few very interesting people, and to get to know about two very interesting documentary projects that I would like to share with my readers.

They have in common both a focus on Bosnia and the choice of the internet as their main medium. I shall leave the discussion about the potential of the internet for innovative approaches into information, knowledge and art, and go on to present the projects.

The Betrayal of Srebrenica: a Commemoration (above one of the photos, showing a wall covered by the portraits of victims, at the Women of Srebrenica office, in Tuzla) was conceived by photographer Paula Allen and social scientist Lisa di Caprio, as a documentary photographic exhibit on occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Massacre of Srebrenica, and displayed in various locations as a conventional exhibit. A website was created to display its catalogue online,  where everyone can access it, the goal with this project being to contribute to raise awareness about the genocide in Bosnia. I had already visited its website, but now that I got to know Lisa di Caprio, I thought it might be a good idea to link it here.

Balkan Express is the second project I came upon with. The website includes an essay film, ‘The Reed Trains‘, conceived by multimedia artist Amir Husak, with an essay by the writer Nihad Hasanovic; and an interactive documentary, ‘Dayton Express: Bosnian Railroads and the paradox of integration‘.

I am fascinated by this project, both by the essay film and the interactive documentary, which includes, among other things, old images of the Yugoslav trains and stations, music and videos, shown randomly on the section ‘Random Access History'; testimonies about the situation in Bosnia nowadays (including one by Jasmin Causevic, from Bihac, who blogs at Jasmin’s Heart-one of my favourite blogs), on the section ‘Future of the Past'; and a very interesting interactive map of the Bosnian railroads across entities.

With this project I got to realize, for instance, that although the train connection between Belgrade and Sarajevo has been re-establish, I will be wiser to keep taking the bus, as the railroad system in Bosnia closely reflects the de facto division of the country: every time entity lines are crossed, locomotives are changed, as is normal procedure when trains cross different countries. This project thus very clearly illustrates the challenges and obstacles facing a unified Bosnia.

In the end, what both projects combined have told me is that justice and development have to come hand in hand, for the sake of the future of Bosnia.

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Biljana Kovačević-Vučo

One of the leading figures of the struggle for justice and human rights in Serbia, Biljana Kovacevic-Vuco, has died today, at the age of 58.

A lawyer by profession, Biljana Kovacevic-Vuco put her knowledge and skills at the service of justice in an outstanding way. She became an human rights activist in 1992, when she founded the Council forHuman Rights of the Center for Antiwar Action in Belgrade, where she headed an SOS helpline for the victims of political and ethnic discrimination, as well as discrimination at the workplace. Since then, her work towards the defence of human rights focused primarily on providing justice. In 1997 she founded YUCOM, the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights. Among her achievements, she and her team at Yucom successfully sued the Serbian state at the European Court for Human Rights, having it condemned twice for violating human rights (the Yucom website does not provide detailed information about the cases), as well as having won a case against Serbia on the UN Human Rights Council, the case of the journalist Zeljko Bodrožić.

With Sonja Biserko and Natasa Kandic, Biljana Kovacevic-Vuco was one of the most prominent defenders of the need for Serbia to assume and come to terms with its involvement in the wars in the 1990s. She was also on the frontline of the struggle against the Serbian nationalist sectors. Throughout her life as an activist, she revealed to be an example of great courage, never allowing the numerous threats and all sorts of intimidation with which she was routinely faced to prevent her from carrying away her mission.

This is a great loss for Serbia, for democracy and the cause of justice and human rights. May her example be followed by the new generations in Serbia.

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