SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - A Serb group has said it will build a large memorial cross on a hill from which Serb artillery shelled Sarajevo during the 1992-96 Bosnia war.
The plan has outraged an association of war victims, who condemned it yesterday as an insult to the thousands of people who died in the conflict, especially the many Bosnian Muslim victims.
Branislav Dukic, head of the Association of Bosnian Serb War Victims, yesterday confirmed media reports that his group plans to begin building the 85-foot cross on Trebevic Hill in April in memory of Serb war victims.
"The initiative came from families of fallen soldiers and civilians for a monument to be built in memory" of Serbs who died in the conflict, he said in an interview. The monument will be illuminated at night, he said.
Trebevic Hill is in Bosnian Serb territory, but it overlooks Sarajevo, the predominantly Muslim capital. Since the war ended, Bosnia has been divided into two ministates, one for the Orthodox Christian Bosnian Serbs and the other shared by Bosnian Muslims and Roman Catholic Croats. The boundary runs along the slope of Trebevic Hill.
Religious symbols were frequently used during battles in the Bosnian war, in which 100,000 people were killed. Bosnian Serb forces kept Sarajevo under a tight siege, pounding the city with hundreds of shells on some days and preventing food convoys from reaching the population.