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INFO   :::  Press Release - PAGE 3 > Partners in Crime


Partners in Crime

Belgrade, March 19, 2012

Civil society activists protest the gross manipulation of the public opinion in the process of rehabilitation of Dragoslav-Draza Mihailovic, leader of the Tchetnik movement in WWII. Dragoslav-Draza Mihailovic is a war criminal convicted of crimes against humanity - against Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs as well.

The attempt to have him rehabilitated practically annuls the anti-fascist struggle by Serbs and other Yugoslav peoples. Ex-Yugoslavia had one of most authentic and significant people's liberation movements and was as such a respected ally of the anti-Hitler coalition.

Unfortunately, over past decades we have witnessed revision of history in Serbia and fabrication of historical facts, including marginalization of the partisan movement. In doing so Serbia and Serbs have excluded themselves from Europe's front of anti-fascist forces.

So it happened that that we got the Law on Equal Rights of Partisans and Tchetniks and the Rehabilitation Law under which rehabilitation of collaborators of the fascist Germany (such as Prince Pavle or Dragisa Cvetkovic) has been initiated. The ongoing process aimed at rehabilitation of the Tchetnik leader rests on the same law. We feel it our duty to draw the attention of Serbia's leadership and judiciary to the following facts:

  • For the sake of their own authority, expert and moral, and that of Serbia's reputation in the first place, the judiciary and governmental agencies must pay due heed to irrefutable historical facts and elementary principles of the rule of law;
  • No court of law is authorized to establish some 'new past,' let alone belittle undeniable facts compiled in numbers of domestic and international archives.
  • No procedure can rest on a law the basic principles of which have been questioned and as such submitted to the consideration of the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court's decision is still pending.

Dragoslav-Draza Mihailovic has ordered in writing extermination of Muslim population in the districts of Pljevlja, Foca and Cajnice. In a report the officer under his command, Pavle Djurisic, testifies of "complete extermination of the Muslim population regardless of sex or age." Mihailovic's command responsibility for mass crimes against Serbs cannot be denied - massacres in the villages of Vranic, Drugovac and Kopljari dramatically exemplify massive use of bowie knife throughout Serbia.

It is common knowledge which army Tchetniks sided with in the battles of Neretva and Sutjeska in 1944, or at Mt. Kopaonik. It is also common knowledge that in autumn of 1944 Draza Mihailovic disobeyed King Petar II and, together with Ustashi and other quislings, continued to fight side by side with German occupiers till the end of WII and then fueled acts of terrorism in the newly liberated country. By the end of WWII many Tchetniks change sides and joined the People's Liberation Army - all of them who have not committed war crimes were actually rehabilitated.

This suffices to qualify any attempt to have Mihailovic rehabilitated a deeply inhuman and immoral act.

Today's Europe rests on anti-fascism. And Serbia is duty-bound to promote anti-fascist values that, among other things, make foundation for neighborly relations and regional stability.

Hence we claim with responsibility that rehabilitation of Dragoslav-Draza Mihailovic and his Tchetniks would only incite neighboring countries' distrust in Serbia having wagged the 1990s wars practically for the same ideology. Moreover, Mihailovic's rehabilitation would harm the feelings of many families of Tchetnik victims in Serbia proper.

Decision-makers need to know that by rehabilitating war criminals they themselves become partners in crime - because there is no statute on limitations on war crimes.


League of Anti-Fascist of Serbia

Helsinki Committee for Human Rights Serbia

Lawyers Committee for Human Rights

Civil Initiatives

Women in Black

President of the Coordination Committee of the Fourth Vojvodina Convention Zivan Berisavljevic



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