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
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
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
Women in Black
President of the Coordination Committee of
the Fourth Vojvodina Convention Zivan Berisavljevic