Bosnian Authorities Fail to Remove Murals of War Criminals

Former High Representative Valentin Inzko, who was the senior international official in Bosnia and Herzegovina, responsible for overseeing the continuing implementation of the peace deal that ended the 1992-95 war, said before his term in office ended in July this year that local authorities should remove such murals and graffiti from public spaces after he imposed legislation banning the glorification of war criminals and the denial of genocide.

The local authorities in Gradiska haven't responded to his call. Dragana Ilic, deputy mayor of Gradiska, said that the property owners gave permission for the mural of Mladic to be painted and that they were not obliged to seek consent of the city authorities.

This is why the mayor and the city administration cannot request the removal of the mural as it is not the town's property, Ilic explained. "There have been no citizens' initiatives to remove the mural in question," she added.

Before the end of his term, Inzko visited several towns in Republika Srpska where murals of war criminals had been painted and issued an open letter expressing his shock and surprise.

"I read on one Bosnian website that Ratko Mladic had been given a 25-metre-long mural in Foca. I could not believe it!" Inzko wrote.

He said that "glorification of war criminals in unacceptable in the civilised world and there should be consequences".

BIRN contacted the five municipalities that Inzko urged to remove murals, as well as three others where it is known that there are also street artworks praising war criminals. Only Gradiska and one other municipality, Kalinovik, responded.

Like the authorities in Gradiska, the mayor of Kalinovik, Radomir Sladoje, insisted that he had no authority to remove the large...

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