‘We Won’t Give Up’: Student’s Death Haunts Bosnia Three Years On

A shrine has reappeared in Banja Luka's central Krajina Square - candles, flowers and a wooden carving of a clenched fist next to photographs of a 21 year-old student who died three years ago this month in this northern Bosnian town.

Its reappearance is reflective of a political shift since the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, of Bosnian Serb strongman Milorad Dodik last year lost power in the town, the administrative centre of Bosnia's mainly Serb-populated Republika Srpska entity.

The response of authorities to the death of David Dragicevic in March 2018 triggered an outpouring of anger that analysts say helped end the SNSD's decade-long hold on the town, giving voice to deep-seated frustrations over widespread corruption and impunity for the powerful.

Dragicevic's family and their supporters say he was murdered, and have accused those in power at the time of mounting a cover-up.

They say they will not rest until the full circumstances of his death are brought to light; the return of the shrine, which was forcibly removed by SNSD authorities in December 2018 but given temporary approval by new mayor Drasko Stanivukovic, is symbolic of their resolve.

"We have not achieved justice yet, but we have achieved a small victory because we were expelled from the city centre earlier," said Ozren Perduv, leader of the 'Justice for David' movement.

"Things have started to change and I hope that this trend will continue until the final fall of all those responsible for the murder and cover-up of the murder of our fellow citizen David Dragicevic. One thing is certain - we won't give up."

Davor Dragicevic, father of the murdered 21 year old David at the shrine in downtown of Banjaluka in July 2018, Photo:...

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