Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia (YIHR Serbia) requests from the Ministry of Education to determine the responsibility of Verica Letić, the principal of the elementary school “Đura Jakšić” in Kać, for the participation of convicted war criminal Nebojša Pavković in a public class organized by this school on April 20th on the topic “Košare: Stories of Heroes” in the hall of this school. According to the daily newspaper “Politika” and the video report of the “Gradske info” portal, the mayor of Novi Sad, Milan Đurić, also spoke at the public event. That’s why we call on the councilor groups in the Assembly of the City of Novi Sad to initiate the impeachment of the mayor because his presence supported Pavković’s participation in this event and normalized the presentation of a war criminal as a hero in front of an audience that included elementary school students.

During the war in Kosovo, Nebojša Pavković was the commander of the Third Army of the Yugoslav Army. He was legally sentenced before the ICTY to a prison sentence of 22 years for crimes against humanity against Albanians in Kosovo in 1999. Pavković is responsible for deportations, other inhumane acts (forcible transfer), murder and persecution as crimes against humanity, and criminal acts of murder as a violation of the laws and customs of war.

Pavković is serving a prison sentence in Finland. In May 2022, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Courts rejected Pavkovic’s request for early release due to the “great gravity of his crimes and lack of rehabilitation.”

The authorities in Serbia, led by Aleksandar Vučić and Ana Brnabić, have been continuously introducing revisionist policies and denial of war crimes into institutions for years. In April 2019, in the House of the Serbian Armed Forces in Belgrade, under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense, the book “The War Diary of the Commander of the Third Army of the YA – The Third Army in the Embrace of the Merciful Angel” by Nebojša Pavković, who addressed the audience with a video from prison, was presented. Pavković’s book is just one of the publications of the “Warrior” edition, published by the Ministry of Defense, headed by Aleksandar Vulin, in 2018 and presented for the first time at the Book Fair in October of the same year. In March 2020, Pavković’s interview for the Vesti portal, in which he praised Aleksandar Vučić for “creating a modern army,” has since been published on the official website of the Ministry of Defense.

We also remind that last year, after the incitement of nationalistic hatred in the Elementary School “Vasa Stajić,” also in Novi Sad, we called on the Ministry of Education to react, after which the professional-pedagogical supervision and determination of the responsibility of the employees by the provincial inspection was announced. At the beginning of May this year, in the case of the promotion of Kristijan Golubović, who was convicted of several criminal offenses, to the elementary school “Đura Jakšić” in Belgrade, the Education Inspectorate found illegalities in the work of the school principal and informed the minister that the conditions for the dismissal of the principal pursuant to Article 128 of the Law on the Basics of the Education System had been met. YIHR Serbia believes that it is unacceptable that educational institutions are abused in this way and used to promote war criminals.

PHOTO: Press sluzba grada Novog Sada