European Court orders Bosnia to remove Orthodox church

Bosnian authorities were ordered on Tuesday to remove from a Muslim Bosniak woman’s courtyard an Orthodox church built after she was driven out by Bosnian Serb forces who killed 22 of her relatives in nearby Srebrenica, news wires reported.

The final and binding ruling by the European Court of Human Rights should end a 20-year legal battle by Fata Orlovic and members of her family who escaped the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and returned to their village in the Serb-dominated region of Bosnia to find the large church 30 meters from their front door.

The court found the Bosnian Serb authorities’ failure to comply with the binding decisions of 1999 and 2001 ordering full repossession of the land had seriously harmed the Orlovics’s property rights. It said the authorities had to ensure the removal of the church from the land within three months and pay €5,000 ($5,500) to Fata Orlovic and €2,000 to 13 of her relatives in respect of pecuniary damage.

 

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