Twists and turns in the rehabilitation process of the WW2 Chetnik leader
Dragoljub Mihailovic might be nearing the end after the court appoints a legal
On Thursday [July 5], the Belgrade Higher Court appointed the lawyer Zoran Zivkovic [should read Radiša Bogdanović] as
a legal guardian who can confirm that Mihailovic is dead.
A day before, Serbia’s Centre for Social Work has refused to assign a legal
guardian to Mihailovic, which could have prevented the court from completing the
Mihailovic, who was also known as General Draza, the wartime leader of the
royalist Chetnik movement, was sentenced to death in 1946 by a Yugoslav Court
for high treason and collaboration with Nazi Germany.
In March this year, the Court asked any member of the public who could
provide information related to Mihailovic’s death to come forward. Because no
one responded to the request, the court asked the Center for Social Work to
assign a legal guardian.
The proceedings for determining Mihailovic’s death were initiated by the
Society of Political Prisoners and Victims of the Communist Regime and the
Serbian Liberal Party, since to date, no documentary or other evidence of the
exact circumstances of his death has ever been found.
The family of Mihailovic has been searching for years for documentary proof
of his death, but their only written evidence so far is an article from the
newspaper from July 8 [should read July 18] 1946, which records that Mihailovic was killed the
The State Commission for finding secret graves dating from the Second World
War has stated that Mihailovic was killed on July 17, 1946 in Belgrade, close to
today’s popular summer resort of Ada Ciganlija.
However, Mihailovic’s grave has never been found. It is believed that his
bones were transferred at a later date to Great War Island, a small island in
the river Danube, close to Belgrade.
Mihailovic’s grandson, Vojsilav Mihailovic, who filed the request for his
grandfather’s rehabilitation, which would result in the 1946 verdict being
quashed, says that his grandfather was never a Nazi collaborator and that his
trial was a product of the communist regime.
The announcement of Mihailovic’s possible rehabilitation has
provoked a negative reaction not just in Serbia, but also amongst the
Bosnian and Croatian public. The consensus appears to be that it would not be
good for the region if the Serbian state rehabilitates a war criminal.
The rehabilitation hearing will continue on October 8, (2012).
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