ISSN 2330-717X

Serbia Risks Regional Row Over Army Medals


By Bojana Barlovac


Serbia’s defence ministry has decided to start awarding memorial medals for former Yugoslav Army, JNA, soldiers who participated in combat operations in the former Yugoslavia.

According to Sladjan Ristic, head of the ministry’s department for tradition, standards and veterans, medals are currently available only to active military personnel. The idea is that in future retired military personnel can receive the award too.


“There is no reason why they [medals] would not be awarded to members of our [Serbian] military,” the defence ministry’s Petar Boskovic told Balkan Insight.

According to the regulation, a military person can be nominated for this award if he or she participated in combat operations in the former Yugoslavia, or in Serbia, as long as they did not do anything to contravene international humanitarian law and military law.

Sladjan Ristic says battalion commanders will be expected to propose candidates for the awards in agreement with the army and the defence ministry.


Final proposals along with explanations about each person individually are then supposed to be submitted to Ristic’s administration for further assessment.

Afterwards, a technical committee will review the names and submit a final list of persons to the defence minister for approval.

The move has already caused concern in Croatia, however. Tthe daily Jutarnji List sarcastically suggested that General Andrija Raseta, the former deputy commander of the Yugoslav Army’s fifth district, which covered most of Croatia, and Blagoje Adzic, formerly in charge of the JNA, could conceivably get the medals.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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