Reactions to Natasa Kandic being nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Serbian right-wingers protested against a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for rights campaigner Natasa Kandic and the Humanitarian Law Centre, while pro-government media attacked her as a ‘terrorist supporter’.

A group of Serbian right-wing nationalists protested on Friday after two US Congressmen nominated Natasa Kandic and the Humanitarian Law Centre, which documents crimes committed during the Yugoslav wars, for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Kandic was also strongly condemned by pro-government newspapers on Friday, one of which called her a “terrorist supporter” for her work seeking justice for war victims in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other countries of the former Yugoslavia.

Members of the Oathkeepers right-wing group pasted anti-Kandic posters with the message “Nobel Prize for Treason against the Serbian People” on a building that houses several NGOs in Belgrade.

“We immediately called the police… but they did not show up, even after [the Oathkeepers] dispersed,” said the programme director of the Civic Initiatives NGO, Bojana Selakovic.

Selakovic said that a group of around 30 protesters remained in front of the offices for about half an hour, and filmed the people who were working on the ground floor of the building.

The Oathkeepers got the wrong address, however, as the Humanitarian Law Centre is not actually located in the building, which is called the House of Human Rights.

Serbian tabloids meanwhile criticised the nomination of Kandic for the Nobel Peace Prize using ethnic slurs and quoting threats against Kandic by the far-right politician Vojislav Seselj.

The headline on the front page of the state-owned daily newspaper Vecernje Novosti said: “[She] Supported Terrorists, Now Chases the Nobel [Prize].”

“The controversial activist from Belgrade is regarded by the Serbian public as an advocate [of the idea] that Serbia bears the sole responsibility for the wars in the 1990s,” the newspaper alleged.

It also alleged that Kandic supported the Kosovo Liberation Army, which fought for Kosovo’s independence.

Vecernje Novosti named the US Congressmen who nominated her, Senator Roger Wicker and Representative Eliot Engel, as “Albanian lobbyists”. Engel is known for his lobbying in support of Kosovo’s independence.

The tabloid Informer, known for its support for Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, posted Kandic’s picture on its front page next to an ethnic slur used for Albanians.

Informer said that Kandic “built her career on open hatred towards Serbs and all things Serbian”.

The tabloid quoted Seselj, who is on trial for war crimes in The Hague, saying that Kandic should be awarded “posthumously”.

Another tabloid, Srpski Telegraf, also published an apparent incitement to murder from Seselj, who said that Kandic should be “impaled on a stake”.

Serbian tabloid media are known for regularly attacking human rights activists, journalists, as well as real or perceived political opponents of President Vucic.

Recently the pro-government TV Pink aired a series of reports calling journalist Tamara Skrozza an ‘enemy’ of the government.

The Serbian peace group Women in Black is currently suing Informer for calling the organisation’s activists the “biggest foreign mercenaries” in the country.

By Filip Rudic

(Balkan Insight, 02.02.2018)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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