SEPTEMBER 29 2012 17:27h
BELGRADE, Sept 29 (Hina) - The Serbian Constitutional Court has ruled that the government's regulation of 17 June 2005, which recognises the involvement of the Chetnik Movement in the 1941-1945 National Liberation War, is unconstitutional, the Belgrade daily Danas said on Saturday.
It follows from the court ruling that members of the Chetnik Movement are not entitled to a war veteran's allowance, a disability allowance, a medical care allowance, orthopaedic aids, or to their medical costs being covered from the state budget.
However, they are still entitled to a pension and professional rehabilitation, the newspaper said.
Initial reactions to the report were divided.
Aleksandar Cotric, vice-president of the Serbian Renewal Movement, the party that called for the status of antifascist fighters to be accorded to the Chetnik Movement, told Danas that a decision on the matter did not fall within the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court. "The court of history has confirmed that the Ravna Gora Movement was antifascist and liberating," he said, citing the views of "allies in World War II" and "resolutions passed by the Serbian National Assembly in 2004."
The head of the Federation of Associations of National Liberation War Veterans (SUBNOR), Miodrag Zecevic, said that "the Ravna Gora Movement did not take part in the National Liberation War, but only in the war." "As a military formation, they were a disgrace to the Serbian people," he said.
Danas also carried several reactions from the region welcoming the court ruling and saying that history showed that the Chetnik Movement had collaborated with the occupying forces.
The president of Croatia's Civil Committee on Human Rights, Zoran Pusic, said that "in countries of the former Yugoslavia history and historical events are used for political reasons."
"A similar situation occurred in the 1990s, during the wars in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, when the Serbs denied crimes committed by the Chetniks and the Croats denied the genocide of Serbs committed by the Ustashas," Pusic said.
"(Chetnik leader) Draza Mihailovic was no doubt a person who began his struggle as a fighter against fascism, but who for wrong, calculating reasons started to collaborate first with fascist Italy and after the fall of Italy with Nazi Germany. These historical facts are hard to disprove," Pusic told Danas.