David Dragičević (21) was a multitalented young man from Banja Luka. He studied at two faculties – the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Banja Luka and online IT Academy from Zemun. He had been earning a pocket money ever since he was in secondary school by repairing his friends’ computers and giving private lessons in mathematics and computer science to primary and secondary school students. In this way he wanted to help his father, who is a waiter with very modest income and large loans, cover the costs for his education. After his parents had divorced, his mother moved to Austria offering him an opportunity to leave the country where he was born and move to a developed environment. However, he decided to stay in Banja Luka with his father Davor. He has two brothers and a sister.
March 17, 2018 – David’s Disappearance
Davor Dragicevic saw his son David for the last time on March 17, 2018, at about 7 o’clock pm. At that time, David said goodbye to his father and went out. On that fateful night, he came out of his house for a night out, from which he never came back.
At about 6 o’clock in the morning his father noticed that he was not there, which was unusual for him. He tried to call him, but his phone was turned off. He contacted David’s friends trying to get any information about him. Afterwards, he called the police. Even then, the police officers acted frivolously telling David’s father that his son “was probably having fun somewhere”. Parents started a search which lasted for six days helped by friends and citizens. They searched Banja Luka neighborhoods, and David’s father later stated that he personally had checked hundreds of abandoned facilities fearing that his son had been detained in some of them. During the search, the police did not have any information about his possible movement.
In the night of his disappearance, David was in his uncle’s café and told him: “Filip Ćulum is to blame if something happens to me.” He also sent the same message via Instagram to his friend who was in Slovenia at that time. In the night between March 17 and March 18, David was seen for the last time on the footage from the surveillance camera of the “988” café in the center of Banja Luka. After that, there was no trace of him.
During the search, a witness showed up claiming that early in the morning on March 18 saw a mass fight from the balcony of their apartment in the center of Banja Luka near the place where David was last seen. As they pointed out, more than 10 people had been beating a young man who was then thrown into a car and driven in an unknown direction.
They assumed it was David, which would both match the time and place of the event with respect to the last surveillance camera footage. The only camera that could record this event is a surveillance camera on a nearby Reifessen Bank. That footage was never found, and the members of the Ministry of the Interior allegedly seized the footage with an incorrect date by mistake.
March 24, 2018 – Dead Body Found
After six days of searching, David’s body was found at the mouth of the rivers Crkvena and Vrbas. The Crkvena is a creek flowing through the city center mostly underneath the ground and has been turned into a sewerage system. Banja Luka is situated on the banks of the river Vrbas.
David’s father soon identified his son’s body, and at that moment it was obvious that David was murdered in a monstrous manner. His body was full of bruises and injuries, indicating that the death was violent.
March 25, 2018 – First Autopsy of David’s Body
The day after the body had been found, the pathologist from the Institute for Forensic Medicine, Dr. Željko Karan, made an autopsy and concluded that the body had spent six days in the water, and noted that the time of death was on March 18, 2018 at 4 a.m.
March 26, 2018 – Shameful Press Conference and the Beginning of the Protest
The news that David’s body had been found shocked and upset the citizens of Banja Luka who were following up the case and took part in the search. To support the family in difficult times, David’s friends formed the Facebook group “Justice for David” on March 25, which several thousand citizens joined in one day. At the initiative of David’s friends, a public gathering was held at Krajina Square in Banja Luka. All citizens were invited to come at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 26, 2018 and to light a candle for their fellow citizen.
However, several hours before the announced gathering, the Banja Luka police invited the media at an urgent press conference scheduled at noon. The gathered journalists were addressed by:
- Darko Ilić, the Head of the Department for Organised and Serious Crime of the RS Ministry of the Interior,
- Željko Karan, the pathologist, the Director of the Institute for Forensic Medicine of the Republic of Srpska,
- Željko Spasojević, the Head of the PD Banja Luka.
In less than 30 minutes, they reconstructed David’s movement in the night of his disappearance, stating the tiniest details. Police investigators claimed he was a drug addict who robbed a house that evening and fell or deliberately jumped into the Crkvena creek, which carried the body to the river Vrbas for six days. To anyone who watched this press conference (a video clip available on the Internet), it was more than obvious that the statements were the most horrible lies. Their body language showed that they were overwhelmed with panic. Dr. Željko Karan, a man with compromising past, stated that most of the injuries on David’s body were post-mortem. It was also claimed that LSD and marijuana were found in David’s blood, although it would later appear that these analyses could not have been done in Banja Luka because there is no equipment needed for this type of analysis.
Darko Ilić presented the alleged movement of David in the night when he disappeared. In short, he said that he visited several cafes and clubs in Banja Luka, fought with three people, ate up a meat pie at the bakery, robbed a house in Lauš neighborhood and drowned in the Crkvena creek.
“The current investigation clearly indicates that, in the case of David Dragičević, it is an accidental death. He probably fell into the swollen Crkvena creek and, then, the water carried him to the place where the body was found,” Ilić said, adding that David’s death was not the result of a criminal offense.
At the conference Ilić stated that, before drowning, Dragičević robbed the house in 11, Velibor Janjetović Janje Street. After the body had been found, items stolen from the house were found in his pockets. Although the burglary had happened the night before, it was reported on the same day when Dragičević was reported missing. At the press conference, referring to Dragičević’s movement during the night when he disappeared, it was claimed that Dragičević spent 50 minutes in the above-mentioned house, and when leaving it, he walked at an average walking pace without running, moving towards the bridge on the Crkvena creek.
However, by inspecting several footage from the surveillance cameras, it cannot be established with certainty that it is David Dragičević, as the police stated. In addition, the footage clearly shows that the person for whom the police claim to be David Dragičević left the house in Velibor Janjetović Janje Street in hurry and limping, not “at an average walking pace without running” as the police described. After the person for whom the police claim to be Dragičević, two more persons entered the house – the first after four and the other 16 minutes later.
Later, it would turn out that the record of the coroner, who was at the scene where David’s body was found, disappeared from the Prosecution. He noted that he did not find any items in his pockets, whereas the pathologist Karan claimed that the items from Đrođe Rađen’s house were found. Also, the photographs from the photo-documentation of the Institute for Forensic Medicine and photographs from photo-documentation of the police show a different amount of money allegedly found on David.
On the same day, the SRNA news agency, which is under the influence of the authorities, published a news article entitled “Dragičević fought, robbed a house and jumped into the river”, which rendered this 21-year-old man a criminal.
It is interesting that only two days before the conference, the police allegedly had no information on David’s movement. Afterwards they described his alleged route in details. The intention was obvious – to defame the victim and prevent any gatherings and disapproval of the citizens.
However, it produced the adverse effect – a revolt and motivation among the citizens to support David’s family even more resolutely. After a strong disapproval of the parents, friends and citizens, the RS President Milorad Dodik and the Minister of Interior Dragan Lukač visited the parents. During this visit, Milorad Dodik expressed his willingness to help the parents, who requested a new autopsy, and contacted the pathologist from Belgrade, Dr. Ivica Milosavljević.
On the day of the press conference, the citizens started gathering on Krajina Square every day at 6 o’clock p.m. They were not only moved by the pain of David’s parents, but also by a revolt against the
scenarios presented by the RS Ministry of Interior. On the first day several thousands of citizens gathered on the square, and David’s father Davor Dragičević pointed out an overwhelming fact that the police did not even check out David’s room!
March 28, 2018 – Second Autopsy of David’s Body
Doctor Ivica Milosavljević practically only copied Dr. Karan’s findings and the only difference is in the time of death. Milosavljević indicated that the death occurred two to four days before the first autopsy. This refutes the claim that David drowned when he fell into the creek in the morning on March 18.
Like Karan, Milosavljević claimed that LSD and marijuana were found in David’s body. David’s parents sent his forelock to Vienna for the analysis which showed that he had not used narcotics during the past six months. In the later Prosecution procedure, at the Forensic Institute in Zagreb, an analysis was carried out confirming the allegations of David’s parents – there were no drugs in his body.
Support to the Family Increases
The news of the murder of the young man from Banja Luka and its covering up by the institutions spread around the world. Citizens of other countries and the world-renowned media came to the city on the Vrbas daily. Krajina Square became known as David’s Square among the people and the heart was placed there where the citizens left photos, inscriptions, flowers, figurines, candles… A great wooden fist was brought to the square because the clenched fist became the symbol of this fight. In addition to the fist, “Justice for David” has become famous for David’s song “A Kid from Ghetto”, David’s prayer recited on the square every night, as well as the immense solidarity of the people regardless of their religion or nationality they belong to.
Davor Dragičević has become the central figure, a person in whom the citizens saw a strong character and sincere emotion. At daily gatherings, he kept saying that his son had been kidnapped, tortured, raped and eventually killed, and laid down in the Crkvena. He stressed that David had been suffering a brutal, six-day-long torture and was killed on March 23. He accused police officers of being
accomplice in the murder, and the top officials in the RS MI of covering up the evidence and interfering with the investigation.
April 7, 2018 – David’s Funeral
David Dragičević was buried at the New Cemetery in Banja Luka. Many citizens, as well as the RS President Milorad Dodik attended the funeral. It was unclear why the President of a country came to the funeral of a waiter’s son. David’s friends hold the inscriptions with the question “Who killed David?” and one was given to Dodik. When he realised what was written, he put it down.
April 21, 2018 – First Mass Protest
After almost a month of daily gatherings, the “Justice for David” group organised a mass protest attended by some ten thousand citizens from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina. People recognized the sincerity of David’s parents and the people who supported them. This honesty reverberated from every spoken word. The protest finished without any incident, and the support to the citizens of Banja Luka came from Fojnica, Kiseljak, Sarajevo, Mostar, Modriča, Doboj… The police stopped the buses that drove citizens to Banja Luka and prevented them from attending the protest.
The regime’s media tried to deter citizens from the protests, accusing the members of the group of being terrorists, domestic traitors, foreign spies… David’s father Davor Dragičević had already warned that the perpetrators for the murder of his son would not be revealed until the October elections. He invited all citizens who had information about David’s murder to report to him. He knew that the perpetrators were protected by people who were top officials in the institutions of the Republic of Srpska and that they would not solve the case.
Public Stigmatization and Oppression of the Members of the “Justice for David” Group
The oppression upon the family and the closest people around them started in May 2018, when, completely unfounded, the Anti-Terrorism Unit, which is a part of the RS MI, was tasked to follow, wiretap and make recordings that could discredit Davor and some people around him in public. Additionally, the regime used a number of people on social networks who wrote lies about David,
Davor and the people from the “Justice for David” group to turn the public against the family and the group. Everything was written by persons with hidden identities and false online profiles.
In order to destroy this unique idea, many citizens who came to the square every day faced job penalties in public institutions and in the private sector that is close to the regime. The penalties were mostly “wrapped” in transfers to lower paid jobs and towns hundreds of miles away from their place of residence. Vulnerable categories of workers, such as single mothers and children of fallen soldiers suffered most.
Radio-Television of the Republic of Srpska assisted in daily stigmatization by despicably defaming the Dragičević family and the members of the group. They were accused of being foreign collaborators, traitors and terrorists who were preparing a coup d’etat and the fall of the regime. Although they regularly reported on the “Justice for David” protest, they never requested a statement from any group members. The portal InfoSrpska was created for compromising the group in the media, which occasionally and without the author’s name published outrageous lies about Davor Dragičević and people close to him. The same texts were released by the public RS services – the news agency SRNA and RTRS.
Therefore, many citizens filed lawsuits against this public institution.
May 10, 2018 – Davor Dragičević Adresses the National Assembly
Davor Dragicević addressed the MPs of the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska at the session held on May 10 and and all he asked from the Assembly members was to find the truth about his son’s murder and to punish perpetrators and their accomplices. He asked institutions to work by the law, and not in favor of the privileged individuals. At that point, the ruling party, SNSD, suggested forming an Inquiry Board that was supposed to question all those responsible for handling or not handling the investigation. The appointment of a man from the opposition as the head of the Inquiry Board (Branislav Borenović, PDP) gave people the false hope that everyone might be ready to investigate the facts and discover the truth. The hope died soon, because as soon as the Inquiry Board finished their work – which was professional and correct – there was the news that, prior to the voting of MPs in the National Assembly on the adoption of the Inquiry Board’s report, the RS President Milorad Dodik said
that “the ruling coalition will not accept the Inquiry Board’s report and that opposition parties showed their incapability during this process.”
July 4, 2018 – Qualification of Murder
It took one hundred days for the District Public Prosecutor’s Office of Banja Luka to qualify David’s death as a murder. The statement signed by the District Attorney General Želimir Lepir, read:
“In the current procedure of collecting the evidence, we have established with certainty the following: “David Dragičević was not kidnapped, captured or ill-treated. There is no indication for this, either the reasonable doubt or proof. This conclusion is based on the finding of a medical expert, which does not imply the existence of injuries that would indicate kidnapping, captivity, rape of the victim, etc. These facts are contrary to the claims of the injured father and a part of the public insisting on David’s being kidnapped, captivated and liquidated. David Dragičević was not beaten with batons and bats by a large group of people, as also claimed by the injured party and the public. This opinion is confirmed by the fact that only slight injuries have been found on the body without any fractures. “
The Prosecution’s statement also reads: “based on the results of the investigations carried out so far, a reasonable doubt has been established that around 4:00 a.m. on March 18 2018, in Banja Luka, in the Velibor Janjetović Janje Street, near the Crkvena creek, there was a verbal and physical conflict between the injured and the suspects (two or three unknown perpetrators) during which Dragičević David, fearing for his life, either ran away from the perpetrators and fell down the steep banks of the Crkvena creek from a height of around 4.5 meters into the swollen Crkvena creek or the perpetrators pushed him into the Crkvena creek from the banks when he drowned shortly after hitting the water. His corpse was found on 24 March 2018 in the Crkvena creek in the immediate vicinity of the mouth of the river Vrbas. Accordingly, the Prosecution continues further investigation in order to clarify and establish the facts regarding the above-mentioned charge of the investigation order.”
July 7, 2018 – The Second Mass Protest
Nearly 20,000 people attended the second big protest in Banja Luka. It was organised on the 104th day of the protest. David’s parents Davor Dragicević and Suzana Radanović and the father of the murdered Dženan Memić, Muriz Memić from Sarajevo, as well as Spasenija Aranđelović, the mother of the murdered Danijela Aranđelović from Tuzla, addressed the attendants.
Parents who suffered similar tragedies contacted the Dragicevićs family and asked for help every day. They often came to the square in Banja Luka and addressed the attendants asking for support so that they could also find the murderers of their children.
August 24, 2018 – Criminal Report against 13 Persons
Davor Dragicević reported to the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) 13 persons, including the officials of the RS MI. They are charged with conspiracy to commit criminal offenses, cover up the murder and protect the murderers; altering and/or destroying physical evidence, etc. Dragan Lukač, Darko Ilić and Željko Karan are among the reported.
“Ilić, Lukač and Karan deliberately deceived the public and made false statements, criminalized the victim, with the intention to cover up the murder,” it was stated in the criminal report.
August 27, 2018 – International Attorney Team Formed
David’s parents, Suzana Radanović and Davor Dragicević, gathered an international team of lawyers consisting of Dusko Tomić and Ifet Feraget from BiH, Anto Nobilo from Croatia and Zora Dobričanin-Nikodinović from Serbia. They should work on solving the case of their son’s murder.
The lawyers quickly noticed many irregularities and inconsistencies in handling the investigation. The Prosecutor’s Office and the RS MI promised to provide all documents they needed.
September 7, 2018 – Indictment for the Disappearance of David’s Underwear
During the investigation, one of the key evidence, the underwear of the late David Dragicević, disappeared. When this information went public, the RS MI and the Prosecutor’s Office behaved extremely irresponsibly. In “One to One” show on the Alternative Television, the prosecutor Lepir told the reporter that this was an irrelevant evidence for the investigation. To the journalist’s question how it was possible to lose such evidence during the investigation, Minister Lukač replied with a question: Have you ever lost anything?
“There is a certain connection between the behavior of the police officers who have lost the underwear and solving the case of David’s murder. After death, a conscious control of physiological needs ceases, that is, the muscles relax and there can cause urination and excrement. Finding these panties and its contents, or traces of excrement on them should be the key evidence of how long the body was in the water, and I think it was not long,” explained the lawyer Feraget.
At the beginning of September, the District Public Prosecutor’s Office of Banja Luka filed an indictment against two CSI technicians, Zoran Bošnjak and Mikica Marjanac, for the criminal offense of tampering with evidence in the investigation of the murder of David Dragičević. According to the indictment, they were charged with throwing away David’s boxer shorts on March 25, after the autopsy of David’s body. The crime technicians denied the guilt and accused the inspector Siniša Kojdić of this crime.
September 19, 2018 – Protest in front of the Police Department and Sleeping on the Square
During the daily protests on Krajina Square, an unknown man threatened Davor Dragičević with death. He was soon arrested, and Dragičević went with the citizens to the Banja Luka Police Department, where a large number of people joined. David’s father was presenting details about the murder of his son all the time, stating that he was killed in a room in the Police Department, previously brought in through an entry that had not been used for years. He listed the names of the police officers who allegedly participated in his son’s maltreatment, and asked in what condition David’s jaw was when they found his body.
The protesters stayed for more than 18 hours in front of the Police Department. The citizens were bringing coffee, water and food all night long. No incident happened. Afterwards the protesters returned to the square where they remained for almost a month, until October 15. Davor Dragičević and
the prominent members of the group slept under the clear sky. The citizens regularly visited them and looked after them. During these days, one could witness remarkable solidarity in Banja Luka. A tent which protected the protesters from the sun, the wind and the rain, the bed in which Davor Dragičević slept and the heater to warm up in the cold were brought to the square.
Citizens brought them food, warm clothes, blankets and sleeping bags regularly. During the cold nights, they brought hot tea and chicken soup on the square. Being concerned for the citizens, the owners of local cafes left their outdoor seating areas open during the night so that they could get away from the cold if it became unbearable.
Even though they were on the square 24 hours a day, protests took place regularly at 6 p.m. every day. This certainly disturbed the authorities, and the President Milorad Dodik publicly threatened Davor Dragičević only a few days later.
“What will he do? He put the bed on the square and thinks he’s a dude. On the eighth he will no longer be there,” he said, alluding to the day after the elections and that he would “clear” the square. The clearing really happened at the end of December.
September 21, 2018 – Alen Kukić Deleted Video Surveillance Footage
David’s DNA was never found in Đorđe Rađen’s house, which David had allegedly robbed before his death. The only proof that David was in it on the night of his disappearance used by the MI was the footage of surveillance camera. However, due to tampering with the footage, Alen Kukić was arrested. He admitted that he deleted parts from the footage and edited them. As he stated, he did this by the order of the owner of the house, Đorđe Rađen.
The order, however, came from the police inspectors who ordered Rađen to seize the footage and hand them over as evidence. So, the footage were not seized by the police during the investigation, but by a civilian who had no right to do it.
October 5, 2018 – Third Mass Protest
Two days prior to the general elections in BiH, on October 5, 2018, the “Justice for David” group gathered 40,000 citizens in the center of Banja Luka, asking for truth and justice for their fellow citizen peacefully and with dignity. The institutions and public media tried to prevent the protest from taking place. On the day of the protest, the roads to Banja Luka were blocked. People shared videos on social networks of buses stopped in nearby towns by the police who prevented them from entering the city. Revolted, citizens went on foot up to 80 kilometers to Banja Luka.
“I implored, begged, sought truth and justice. There is no MI or institutions here, let alone a serious state. Everything comes to an end. Peace and dignity, strength and love. We are humans, they are murderers. There is no coexistence or neighbors’ relation with murderers. “The Justice for David” group is not and will never be a political, religious or national entity. This group is a group of truth and justice. We are sincere, honest, and we will remain so forever. We will establish a foundation with David’s name which will help children. Whoever comes to power, we will breathe down their neck. I swear by David Dragičević’s grave, I will never let you down or I leave you; I will be your servant for the rest of my life. For truth and justice!” said Davor Dragičević during his address.
During the evening, he once again confirmed that he knew the whole truth about his son’s murder.
“I know the truth. Before March 17, the officials of the MI organised the kidnapping and murder of David Dragičević. The Intervention unit, four Dacia, MI rooms, then laid down in the sewer. I would cry, but I cannot. Today I have cried, I can only cry at his grave. Killers, do you know what it feels like to go to a 21-year-old child’s grave? What should I tell him, what should I give him? What? The killers will meet their end on Thursday at 6 p.m. No one has lived normally for seven months. For whom? For what? You’ve turned the MI into a drug criminal organisation. You have been given too much time. Dacia has been following me for seven months. For seven months, I have been watching the car that killed my child. It’s enough!” He emphasized.
David’s mother, Suzana Radanović, reminded the crowd that this fight was no longer just for David, but for all children, as such tragedies would not happen again.
“We know that our child is not blamable, he was brutally murdered and the truth is on our side. The justice will be served with your help. You know everything. We have lost our child in such a monstrous way. As a mother, I can only say – pray to the God this doesn’t happen to anyone else ever again. This is your fight, you have been fighting for yourself, for your children since March 18,” she stressed.
November 9, 2018 – International Team of Lawyers Dismissed
Lawyer Duško Tomić, who was the head of Dragičević family lawyer team, said that the international team of lawyers is no more because the members’ positions on the case were too different. Shortly thereafter, Anto Nobilo publicly claimed that it was not true that David had been raped and massacred, and that Davor was exploited by the politicians. After withdrawing from the team, Zora Dobricanin-Nikodinovic said: “all of these lawyers are high professionals, but also solo players”, which led to different opinions. As she publicly stated, while on the case she was run by the slogan “give me the evidence, I will give you justice”. Želimir Lepir’s refusal to exclude his deputy Dalibor Vrećo from the investigation prevented her from professionally doing her job.
At the time Davor emphasised that it was clear to him who formed the team and why, and the reason they fell apart.
“The team was formed when Duško Tomić, Anto Nobilo and Zora Dobričanin-Nikodijević offered themselves to represent me. My only condition was that they work with Ifet Feraget, whom I absolutely trust. Initially, they were reluctant, but they accepted it on my insistence. It was most important for me that Feraget was there to identify and legally follow what is going on. I already knew who formed the team and why. I would not talk about it now, but I will say it when everything is over and justice is truly served. Mr Feraget knows about it. It is going to be a tough journey and we need time, but justice will come forth, but not how Duško Tomić and Ante Nobilo wanted. Ms Zora Dobričanin-Nikodijević is not a part of their action. My son was killed seven months ago and I said that I would never allow them to murder my son again. The attempt to kill my son again failed on Friday after those lawyers had left the team. I believe that we are heading in the right direction. Ifet Feraget is with me and I need nobody else besides him. Ms Zora Nikodijević said that we could contact her for advice whenever we needed it,” Davor told to the Interview.ba.
November 21, 2018 – Fourth Mass Protest
“Six days, six nights … Where are you, the police officers? Blue uniforms? Where are the prosecutors? Where are you who are sitting in the institutions? On April 5, mother Suzana was ironing a graduation suit, I was packing my soul into a coffin, into a grave,” said Davor Dragičević at the fourth mass protest, alluding to the period when the search for David was organised and the day of his funeral.
On the same evening, protests were organised in several cities in BiH showing that the citizens were still united in their intention to find out the truth and justice to be served.
December 6, 2018 – Reports against the MI
Lawyer Ifet Feraget filed a complaint to the RS Prosecution for not pursuing the investigation against the head of the Directorate for Organised and Serious Crime of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Srpska, Darko Ilić, and the decision on discontinuance of the investigation against the pathologist Željko Karan.
“An illogical and unprofessional analysis of evidence is carried out consciously and deliberately. If you have the evidence that someone was not in a certain place at a certain time, and you continue to insist on that, it is obvious that you do not handle the investigation in the right direction. Give me 24 hours and with the potentials and evidence that the Prosecution has, everything will be clear. You do not have to be too smart for this,” he said.
December 25, 2018 – The Police Violence over the “Justice for David” Group
On December 25, in the morning, when the citizens were at work and international organisations on vacation, the RS MI sent the police cordon on Krajina Square. Before that, Davor Dragičević, Suzana Radanović, Sofija Grmuša, Ozren Perduv and other prominent members of the Justice for David group were taken to the police station. The reason was a threat to security.
The police first intercepted Davor Dragičević at the Novo Groblje [New Cemetary], but he escaped in a car driving to the city square seeking for witnesses for his apprehension. After the police had pursued
the other members of the group, they put the yellow tape around the square and David’s heart – a kind of shrine dedicated to the fight for truth and justice.
Being revolted and curious, citizens began to gather on the square, so there was a large number of elderly people and children among them. There was a cordon of armed police between them and David’s heart. You could only see their eyes from the helmets, truncheons and vests. The citizens did not show any aggression and begged the police not to remove the symbols of the “Justice for David” group, but the police quickly began to suppress them, push them with their shields and hit them with their truncheons. The media recorded the violence of the RS MI against their own citizens, so the scenes of bloody faces went around the world. The police torture continued in the station, which was also reported by the media. The citizens were even beaten with belts across their face.
After several hours of scuffling, the citizens were pushed from the square, and in the evening they walked along the streets of Banja Luka with Suzana Radanović. On the following day, Davor Dragičević and other members of the group were released from custody, and instead of gathering at the square they organised marches along “David’s route”, the streets for which the police claimed David had passed along on the night of his disappearance. Being dissatisfied with the treatment of institutions towards its own citizens, several thousand people from Banja Luka joined the marches.
This time, strong police forces guarded the empty square and prevented the members of the group from stepping onto it. Unofficial curfew was in force in Banja Luka.
December 30, 2018 – Fifth Mass Protest, Riots and Davor Dragičević’s Disappearance
On December 30, at 6 p.m. the fifth mass protest took place on Banja Luka Square which was not organised by the “Justice for David” group but by the citizens supporting the family of the murdered David. After the protest, thousands of citizens led by Davor Dragičević were marching for hours through the city streets, halting in front of the Palace of the President, the National Assembly, the RTRS building and the building where the pathologist Željko Karan lived.
That evening, Haris Džinović’s concert was scheduled as a part of the New Year’s celebration in Banja Luka. The city authorities did not want to cancel the concert despite the current situation in the city. Before the concert, members of the group entered the audience space and demanded the concert to be cancelled. Not only Haris Džinović’s concert was cancelled but also, Željko Joksimović and Željko
Samardžić’s scheduled for the following days. The citizens left the concert area, and on their way home they were passing by Krajina Square which was guarded by the strong police forces. It was at this point that a real human hunt began.
The policemen chased the citizens on the streets, beat them with truncheons and took them to the station. Social networks and the media reported new scenes of violence, such as the two plainclothes police officers kicking a young man lying on the ground. Then they attacked the cameraman who was recording the scene. What the pursued citizens did not know at that time was that the city authorities falsely accused them of destroying an equalizer at Haris Džinović’s concert. In the following days, Džinović publicly stated that the concert was not supposed to take place at all, and that he appeared in Banja Luka only to comply with the contractual obligation.
That evening, Davor Dragičević was last seen on the streets of Banja Luka. Soon, it turned out that his life was in danger and he had to move to safety. Members of the group were again taken to the police station, even those who did not participate in marching.
The events on December 30 resulted in the public no longer talking about the murder of David Dragičević, but about Haris Džinović’s equalizer and cables, Željko Joksimović and Željko Samardžić’s cancelled concerts in Banja Luka, damages made to tourism, lawsuit threats… The result was also the criminalisation of members of the “Justice for David” group who were detained several times and harassed as soon as they appeared on Krajina Square.
Despite all this, everyday gatherings continued, now in the courtyard of the Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
Persecution of the Group
On December 26, 2018, the Minister of the Interior Dragan Lukač said that protest marches were not banned, and that “anybody may walk peacefully in Banja Luka and express dissatisfaction with certain issues, but may not offend or threaten anyone in the worst manner”. Four days after the mass protest on Krajina Square, riots broke out, and the Banja Luka Police Department announced that any protest of the “Justice for David” group would be banned. The justification for such a decision was that the organizer “did not comply with the obligations prescribed by the RS Law on Public Gatherings. The approved public gathering was held on Krajina Square, afterwards it continued as a public gathering in procession, which was not announced as such.” The justification for human hunt of the citizens that took place on December 30 was loud shouting of the group’s slogans after 10 p.m. which is the violation of public order and peace.
This practice has continued to this day. The police bring in and harass the citizens who take photographs with a fist in the air on the square, shout “Justice for David” or hold a piece of paper which says “Justice for David”. All these examples are documented.
January 23, 2018 – First Trial against CSI technicians
On grounds of a reasonable doubt that on March 25 after the autopsy of David Dragičević, Mikica Marjanac and Zoran Bošnjak threw away his boxer pants, they faced a possible three-year sentence in prison. Both pleaded not guilty and accused the inspector Siniša Kojdić of this crime.
27 February 2019 – Constitutional Court stated the Prosecution “Wanders”
District Public Prosecutor’s Office of Banja Luka “wanders” in investigating the murder of David Dragičević, the RS Constitutional Court stated in their decision. The Court confirmed that the Prosecution did not offer evidence indicating that David Dragičević was in Đorđe Rađen’s house on March 18, 2018. Therefore, Alen Kukić should not be kept in custody for two months on the grounds of deleting and editing the footage.
As indicated, the Prosecution ignored the fact that the orders for this act came from the MI inspectors and Đorđe Rađen.
March 12, 2019 – Exhumation of David’s body
At the request of David’s parents, his body was exhumed from the New Cemetery in Banja Luka. About a hundred citizens, who came to support the family, attended the event. Two days later, David’s mortal remains left Banja Luka.
March 15, 2019 – The Second Burial of David Dragičević and Appeal to the Constitutional Court
More than 1,000 people attended the second burial of David Dragičević. His body was laid in a grave in a small town of Wiener Neustadt near Vienna.
“My dear son, I hope you will find peace today so that I can come to you. I thank all the people who have come here, many of you were at the first funeral. My child was killed by the RS institutions. Everything is already said, and nothing has been done. “Justice for David” exists and will exist forever. We will not forgive or forget,” said Davor Dragičević over his new son’s grave.
More than a hundred citizens from BiH came to the funeral, including Muriz Memić, the father of the murdered Dženan Memić.
On the same day, the lawyer Ifet Feraget filed an appeal to the Constitutional Court of BiH for “violating the right to life, or failure to carry out an effective investigation, since the investigation so far was obviously aimed to cover up kidnapping and aggravated murder of David Dragičević; for violating the prohibition of inhumane treatment to the injured party; for violating the right to a fair trial; for violating the right to an effective remedy and for violating the right to prohibit discrimination on any ground.” The same appeal also contested the RS Public Prosecutor’s Office’s orders to discontinue the investigation against Željko Karan and not to initiate the investigation against Darko Ilić, Dubravko Kremenovć and other members of the RS MI associated with the murder of David Dragičević and interference with the investigation.
Registration of Citizens’ Association
Citizens gathered around the “Justice for David” group decided to take their fight to a higher level and register the Citizens’ Association “The Justice for David Movement”. The idea is that the citizens gathered around a common vision start the fight complied with the Constitution and laws in order to influence amending the laws and regulations; to point to the issues that undermine the state system; and to fight against illegal acts of the institutions.
The key points, which make the citizens persistent in their demands, are the contradictory statements and actions of the institutions which have created immense insecurity and concern for all children in BiH. Murder involvement and cover-up of the crimes of the institutions that should guarantee security to the citizens is the main driving force and motive to find out the truth and to expose all the involved so that they could be adequately punished.
7 June 2019 – ban from gathering in the port of the Church of Christ the Savior
On Friday, 7 June, two policemen arrived in the courtyard of the Church of Christ the Savior and informed the group members they could no longer gather there starting as from tomorrow. The reason for this was the request from the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) to enable them to carry out their regular activities.
The same evening a member of the group Ozren Perduv went to the Police Station where they showed him a letter from the SOC. The citizens did not receive any written notice of banning the gathering.
8 June 2019 – Police secures the Church area
During the evening gatherings, there were the policemen in front of the Church who did not allow the members of the group to stand in the usual place. They ordered them to move away and asked for their IDs.
Afterwards, the citizens continued gathering in the pedestrian zone next to the Church. Each evening they tried to enter the Church individually to light a candle for David, but the police did not allow it. The media recorded and released moments when the police officers allow parents with children and
citizens who are not considered to be a part of the “Justice for David” group to enter the churchyard, while others were stopped at the entrance of the churchyard and ordered to get back.
15 Jun, 2019 – Association Registered in Vienna
The “Gerechtigkeit für David und alle Kinder von BiH” Association is officially registered in Vienna (Austria). By this act the informal group got its legal form and the possibility to raise the fight at a higher level.
Any person who shares the values of the Association regardless of the city or the country he/she lives in may become a member of the Association.