Chetniks rehabilitated

Friday – Serbia has put veterans of the WWII Chetnik royalist army on the same footing as those of the Communist Partisan movement with new legislation passed this week.

Chetniks are now entitled to the same pension and as Partisans under the new Veterans’ Rights Act.  The new law also covers military and family disability payments.

The rights now enjoyed by the Chetnik veterans were awarded to the followers of former President-for Life Josip “Tito” Broz at the end of the war.

The amendments cover fighters who joined the Chetniks between April 1941 and May 1945 and provides for a pension of 20,000 dinars (about 250 euros) per month. 

One of the law’s sponsors, Bogoljub Pejcic, said that the victory was a moral, rather than a financial one for the hundred or so surviving Chetnik veterans.  A large number of Chetnik fighters crossed over to the Partisan side before the end of the war.

The legislation was opposed by Slobodan Milosevic’s Socialist Party of Serbia, the successor to the former Communist Party, warning that Serbia would be the first European country to recognise “collaborationists”.

Croatia’s governing Croatian Democratic League has criticised the legislation, saying that it cannot accept revisions of history who are not in line with the anti-fascist values of modern Europe.  “Glorifying Fascist movements is intolerable,” said the party in a statement.

Croatia last month jailed two Serbian students for displaying photographs of Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic in Zagreb’s central square.

Mihailovic was executed by the Communist regime in 1946 as a traitor after being accused of collaborating with Germany’s Nazis.