First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic attended today the murder anniversary and commemoration held in honour of the Serbian children killed in Gorazdevac, on 13 August 2003.
The commemoration ceremony was also attended by Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic and Minister of Labour, Employment, Veterans’ and Social Affairs Zoran Djordjevic.
In his speech, Minister Dacic pointed out that the Gorazdevac crime was one of the most atrocious crimes committed in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.
“While we remember our tragically slain children, stricken with sadness and overwhelmed with pain, incidents in Kosovo and Metohija are still many, making the Serbs who have managed to stay in their homes feel unsafe, even today”, the Minister underlined.
The Minister called on the institutions in Kosovo and Metohija and the international community to take measures in order for the perpetrators and persons who ordered the murders in Gorazdevac to be brought to justice, and particularly emphasized that each crime was punishable, regardless of the culprits’ and the victims’ nationality, pointing out that no crime must go unpunished, especially not at the heart of the 21st century Europe.
Following is Minister Dacic’s address.
“On this day, we are marking one of the most dreadful crimes committed in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. On that day, 13 August 2003, Ivan Jovovic and Panetelija Dakic, who was only 13 at the time, were viciously murdered by the shots from automatic weapons. This monstrous terrorist act put an end to two young lives, while four Serbian children were severely wounded on the occasion.
Each crime is appalling, but one cannot imagine a crime more brutal than the one aimed against those who have only just begun to live. A horrifying massacre of these innocent children, killed for the sole reason of being Serb, was carried out in order to send a message. A message to all remaining Serbs that they were now superfluous in Kosovo and Metohija. A message to those expelled from Kosovo and Metohija that they should not even start thinking about returning. A message that the ethnic cleansing would be completed, at any cost. The spray of gunfire that extinguished the lives of Serbian children that day at the “Blooded Bistrica River” was intended to wipe out all trace of Serbian presence and survival in that holy Metohija land.
The UNMIK Police Commissioner stated then that he would leave no stone unturned in order to track down the children’s murderers. Apart from UNMIK, the crime was also denounced by representatives of KFOR, EU, US, France and Russia. The US delegate in the UN Security Council described this act as a “horrible crime”, while the then State Department Spokesperson assessed that those who had committed the crime against innocent children were enemies of peace who had attacked the future of Kosovo. Despite all that, not even today, 14 years later, there is no justice for Ivan Jovovic, Pantelija Dakic and their families. In the same way there is no justice for the victims of a monstrous crime against Serbian reapers in Staro Gracko, when 14 persons were savagely killed, the youngest being only 17, in the same way there is no justice for any of the 1,000 Serbs killed from 1999 to this day. The fact that justice has not been served on their behalf is almost as horrible as the crimes themselves.
While we remember our tragically slain children, stricken with sadness and overwhelmed with pain, incidents in Kosovo and Metohija are still many, making the Serbs who have managed to stay in their homes feel unsafe, even today. Terrorists and perpetrators of heinous crimes are still being freed in Kosovo and Metohija. This sends the message that there is no justice, either for Serbian, or for Albanian victims of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army’s terror in the “democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo”, which only exists in marketing tricks of the “Kosovo” quasi-state in the territory defined as part of the Republic of Serbia by the highest legally binding documents of the United Nations.
Not until murderers and perpetrators in Kosovo and Metohija are stopped being glorified as national heroes after whom streets and squares are named, not until a murderer is called a murderer, no matter if the victim’s name is Adem or Ivan, Ramush or Panetelija, can true reconciliation and joint future within the European family of nations be possible.
It is for this reason that we are urging, from this place, the institutions in Kosovo and Metohija and the international community to take measures in order for the culprits and persons who ordered the murders in Gorazdevac and elsewhere across Kosovo and Metohija be brought to justice. That is the least we can expect as a confirmation that our victims are not inferior, that each crime is punishable regardless of the perpetrator’s and the victim’s nationality, and that no crime must go unpunished, especially not at the heart of the 21st century Europe.
While preparing for my today’s address before you today, I remembered the following lines:
“Why did you fire your bullets towards my children?
I keep dreaming and daydreaming about them;
I can’t forgive you for the children”.
I cannot but agree with these lines. We cannot forgive for the children; the sacrifice made by our Ivan and Panta, their families, and all our children who happened to be on Bistrica that day must not be forgotten. It is for the sake of this memory of them that we cannot allow a single child in Kosovo and Metohija or anywhere else in Serbia or the region, regardless of their religion or nationality, to undergo what our Ivan, Panta, Bogdan, Marko, Dragana, Djordje and others underwent on that bloody day, 13 August 2003, at the site of the”Blooded Bistrica River”. We owe them that, and we especially owe it to those of them who never got the chance to grow up, and to the generations maturing today, and to the generations yet to come.”