The Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR Serbia) submitted 308 requests to the communal services of 10 cities and municipalities in Serbia, requesting them to remove murals, symbols, and graffiti of the convicted war criminal Ratko Mladić. Communal services are legally obligated to remove murals and graffiti dedicated to Ratko Mladić and all other graffiti spreading hate, such as the Z sign. 

Local self-government communal services in Serbia must not be selective in removing hate speech graffiti from public spaces, and they must remove any hateful messages based on citizens’ reports. During the “Truths Shouldn’t be Denied“ campaign, YIHR received 308 pictures of murals and graffiti celebrating convicted war criminal Mladić from more than 120 citizens throughout Serbia. With the help of the Serbian citizens in mapping murals and graffiti of convicted war criminal Mladić, YIHR sent 308 requests for removing graffiti, symbols, and murals dedicated to Mladić to the communal services.

As Portal 021 reported on March 6, after the graffiti “Kosovo is Serbia,” “No to capitulation,” and “Aca fraud” was written on the city hall and the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina office, the government of Novi Sad ordered the removal of the graffiti “Kosovo is Serbia” from all locations in this city. Actions like this, removing graffiti based on the decision on communal order, must not be an incident but a rule. 

During the Third Special Plenary Session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on February 2 this year, the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that Vladimir Lazarevic, convicted of crimes against humanity in Kosovo, is “a great Serbian hero.” Due to the glorification of war criminals that has been coming from the government for years, hundreds of graffiti and murals celebrating the war and war criminals have shown up on the streets. Thus, on March 7, a mural of Nebojša Pavković, who was also convicted of crimes against humanity in Kosovo, was painted in Ćuprija. 

Out of the 308 graffiti, symbols, and murals dedicated to Mladić, more than 250 are located in Belgrade, which shows the organized response of right-wing groups to YIHRs request for the removal of the mural of Mladić on the corner of Njegoševa and Alekse Nenadović streets in Belgrade. That is why YIHR especially invites autorites of the City of Belgrade and the municipality of Vračar to start removing the Mladić mural symbolically. Removing the mural of Ratko Mladić and Dragoljub Mihailović will show whether the law in Serbia is respected or not.