True reconciliation and a future in the European family can happen only when killers and criminals are no longer celebrated as “national heroes” in Kosovo.
First Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said this on Sunday, during the marking of the anniversary of the 2003 crime committed in the enclave of Gorazdevac in Kosovo, when a group of Serb children and teenagers spending the summer day at the Bistrica River was gunned down by as yet unknown perpetrators using automatic rifles.
Two of them, 12 year-old Pantelija Dakic, and 19-year-old Ivan Jovovic were killed, while four others were wounded.
According to his remarks published by the Serbian government, Dacic repeated his call to institutions in Kosovo and Metohija and the international community to take measures to bring to justice the perpetrators and masterminds of murders in Gorazdevac and other places throughout Kosovo and Metohija.
The appalling massacre of innocent children, murdered only because they were Serbs, committed in order to send a message to the rest of the Serbs there is no room for them in Kosovo, warned the Deputy prime minister.
“UNMIK police commissioner said at the time that he would turn over every piece of land to find the killers of children, and apart from UNMIK, this crime was condemned by representatives of KFOR, the European Union, the United States, France and Russia, while the US representative to the UN Security Council called this act ‘a horrible crime’,” he said.
A US State Department spokesman at time assessed then that “those who committed a crime against innocent children are enemies of peace who attacked the future of Kosovo,” Dacic continued.
“Despite all that, even today, 14 years after the crime, there is no justice for Ivana Jovovic, Pantelija Dakic and their families. There is no justice for the victims of the crime committed against Serb farmers in Staro Gracko, where 14 people were killed, of whom the youngest was 17 years old,” Dacic said.
“Today, terrorists and perpetrators of horrific crimes are free in Kosovo and Metohija. This sends the message of ‘a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo’ that exists only in advertizing performances of the Kosovo quasi-state,” he said.
Dacic called on the institutions in Kosovo and Metohija and the international community to take measures to bring perpetrators of murders in Gorazdevac and other places in Kosovo and etohija to bring justice.
The ceremony, held in Belgrade’s Kosmet (Kosovo and Metohija) Victims Memorial Room on Sunday was also attended by Serbian cabinet ministers Branko Ruzic and Zoran Djordjevic, Army chief Gen. Ljubisa Dikovic, Head of the Missing Persons Commission Veljko Odalovic, and Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Chepurin.
Head of the Serbian Government’s Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric attended the memorial service in Gorazdevac itself, where he placed a wreath on a memorial raised to honor the victims of NATO’s 1999 attack on Serbia, and the youths gunned down at the Bistrica River four years later.