David`s Heart

For more than two years, the informal group “Justice for David” has been asking institutions to find the killers of David Dragicevic (21) from Banja Luka. David disappeared on the night between March 17th and 18th 2018. His body was found in the Vrbas River six days later. On March the 26th 2018.  the Ministry of Interior of the Republika Srpska held an emergency press conference at which the late David was accused of being a drug addict and burglar, and his death was qualified as accidental, although numerous injuries were present on his body. It was these accusations that aroused revolt among the citizens of Banja Luka and led them to gather in the city center every day since then.

The gatherings took place on main Square in Banja Luka until December the 25th 2018. when the Ministry of Interior of the Republika Srpska took a large number of police officers and special forces out on the streets, who clashed with bare-handed citizens. Since then, members of this group have been pressured whenever they appear in public. So far, over 300 criminal and misdemeanor warrants have been issued to human rights activists “Justice for David”. There are currently over 20 different lawsuits against over 30 human rights activists “Justice for David”.

Through this struggle for basic human rights “Justice for David” has encountered a great deal of injustice, pain and suffering. But what is especially disturbing and painful is the situation that is repeated over and over by the Crkvina stream, where they found David’s body. Human rights activists “Justice for David” first planted two trees. The first was called “Truth” and the second “Justice”. And they made a big heart – using stones from the river. They also cleaned the whole place, cut the grass and planted flowers. Only a few days later, the police removed the trees, “Truth” and “Justice”. The detail of a broken heart on a tree is especially disturbing. Police broke David’s heart, a plastic red heart, a symbol that reminds us all of David. The police also broke David’s picture!

After a while, human rights activists “Justice for David” made another heart, planted flowers again, put candles and a picture of David. After a few days, the police removed the heart and took away the picture.

The described process has been repeated a number of times to this day, with human rights activists “Justice for David” persistently putting David’s heart, arranging the space, cleaning the part where David’s body was found, planting flowers while the police is persistently removing flowers and writing sentences.

Today, the 812th day since the brutal murder of a young Banja Luka student and the beginning of the first civil, non-political, protests “Justice for David”, the citizens of Banja Luka, human rights activists “Justice for David” made a new heart, cut the grass, removed garbage, arranged the space and planted flowers at the place where the dead body of David Dragićević was found.

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