521 Saturday 5 June
“The most beautiful day of my life”
Controversial church demolished near Srebrenica
The illegal establishment of a Serbian Orthodox Church in 1998 shocked a Muslim family. The church stands on Arlovix property – built just three years after several family members were killed in the Srebrenica massacre. Now the Arlovics feel justice.
A Serbian Orthodox church built illegally after the Bosnian war has been demolished near the Bosnian city of Srebrenica. “At last we have justice, this is the best day of my life,” said 78-year-old Fada Orlovic, on whose property the church was built.
Twenty months later, the demolition will enforce a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordering the return of all Arlovic families displaced by the war by Bosnia-Herzegovina, including their parcels – the church. Built in 1998.
The property dispute in the Bosnian village of Konjevik Polje dates back to the Bosnian war (1992-95). Arlovic’s family had to flee and leave their land. Many members of the Muslim family, including Arlovic’s husband, were killed in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
Upon their return, the family returned their belongings – except for the parcel where the church stood. Your claims to property in Bosnia in 1999 and 2001 were already legally recognized. However, the results have not been implemented in practice. The family eventually went to the ECHR and got it there as well. Remnants of the church are now to be used to build a new church in Pratunak.
Korzhevich Polje is located in the Serbian Republic of Srpska, near Srabrenica in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the summer of 1995, about 8,000 Muslim men and children were killed by Bosnian-Serbian forces in Srebrenica. The massacre is considered the worst war crime in Europe since World War II.
On Tuesday in The Hague, former Bosnian Serbian army chief Radko Mladic, who was sentenced to life in prison for murder and other war crimes in Srebrenica, will be sentenced on appeal. The 78-year-old demands that he be released. Relatives of the victims of the Srebrenica massacre, on the other hand, believe the long process will end – and Mladic will finally be punished.