Bosnia | Demolition of an illegally built church near Srebrenica

A Serbian Orthodox church, illegally built after the Bosnian war of the 1990s on the property of a Muslim family in the Srebrenica region, was destroyed on Saturday, AFP journalists noted.

Posted on June 5, 2021 2:09 p.m.

France Media Agency

After years of legal battles in the country, the owner of the land in Konjevic Polje (east), Fata Orlovic, 78, whose husband was killed in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995, appealed to the European Court of Human Rights. ‘Man (CEDH) who in October 2019 summoned the local authorities to demolish the church and return the land to the family.

The destruction work lasted all day, in the presence of the police, but without incident.

The materials have been transported to the city of Bratunac in the same region where they will be used to build a new church, according to a decision by local authorities in 2020.


“Justice at last. It’s my best day, it’s joy, ”the land owner told AFP.

“I thank all those who take part in this work. That they rebuild it at home, I have nothing against. I would never go to pray in a mosque built this way. We all have the same blood. I never touched it. They built it and, thank God, they are removing it, ”added Orlovic.


Orlovic girl

The church was built in 1998, after the inter-communal war (1992-1995) which left nearly 100,000 dead, when Fata Orlovic was still a refugee. Upon her return in 2000, she began her legal battle.

Konjevic Polje is in Republika Srpska, the Bosnian Serb entity, whose authorities refused to remove the building. Since the end of the conflict, Bosnia has been divided into two entities, one Serbian and another Croat-Muslim.

The church has always been an abscess of fixation between the Serbian (Orthodox) and Bosnian (Muslim) communities. About 100 people from the two communities clashed violently in 2004.

“We can finally tell ourselves that the laws exist in this country, that something is respected, that we can live normally,” said M’s Orlovic, Hurija Karic, 45 ans.

The destruction of the church comes three days before the announcement of the verdict on appeal by international justice against the former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic, sentenced at first instance to life imprisonment, in particular for his role in the Srebrenica massacre and the siege of Sarajevo.

Some 8,000 Bosnian men and adolescents were killed in the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995, a crime qualified as genocide by international justice.

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