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Dusko Kondor 1947 - 2007

murdered for testifying about Serb crimes

Dusko Kondor

Dusko Kondor

He was born in Bijeljina, in Bosnia-Erzegovina, in 1947. As a human rights activist and an embodiment of civil courage, he was director of the Seminars on Civil Courage run by the Sarajevo non-governmental organization GARIWO, a co-founder of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the head of its Human Rights Education section. As a teacher of sociology, philosophy and democracy at the high school "Mihajlo Pupin" in Bijeljina, he deeply influenced many young people in their formative years.

He had also recently declared himself ready to testify in the local courts against indicted Serb war criminals on the atrocities which he had personally witnessed - among them the cold-blooded murder in 1993, under his window, of 26 Muslims including some children.

Professor Kondor had already been receiving phone threats to his life for two years and a half years before. He repeatedly reported these to the police, but he was never given protection. Only days before his death, the tires of his characteristic car, a Mercedes of 1980 vintage, were slashed and the windshield smashed in. On the morning of his assassination his daughter asked for urgent protection, reporting a potential assassin at their door, but the police, arriving 40 minutes later, asked her if the person who murdered her father that evening might not just have been carrying a plastic toy.

Dusko Kondor, was brutally murdered on Thursday February 22nd 2007, aged 60, in his own home in Bijelina, Republika Srpska. Two criminals emptied their automatic guns through the locked metal front door of his second-floor flat while a third sat in their escape car below. Professor Kondor leaves his wife and two daughters.

Undeniably the death of Dusko Kondor represents a tremendous loss for Bosnia and Herzegovina. As one of his students speaks: "Probably the most important thing is that he has made this network of young people, who in this way have become friends. He connected young people of all different nationalities and religions, and through them their cities and states. This is a true achievement of inexpressible value. Through us, Duško will live eternally".

Their massive peaceful protest after the funeral on Saturday February 24th demonstrates their conviction to speak up, to oppose injustice and to stand up for truth. They carried large banners proclaiming: "They killed a symbol of Civil Courage, but they cannot kill the truth…We are all Professor Kondor".

Other messages were directed at the Ministers of Justice and Interior Affairs and the President of Republika Srpska for their role in repeatedly neglecting his calls for protection.

Amnesty International and international authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have widely condemned the assassination and have called on the responsible institutions to launch appropriate investigations immediately. Clearly a prompt, thorough and objectively impartial investigation into this crime is required.

Since 5 May 2009 a tree and a stone have been dedicated to Dusko Kondor inside the Garden of the Righteous Worldwide of Milan

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Exemplary figures

against ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslaviaì

People who opposed ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia during the war that broke out for the partition of the territory, after the collapse of the communist regime following Marshall Tito's death.
In 1992 Slovenia and Croatia became independent, the war in Bosnia broke out and Sarajevo was set under siege. It was the start of the "ethnic cleansing" carried out through systematic slaughters, the expulsion of civilians and mass rape.  
The Panel of UN experts who studied the opportunities to settle conflicts in the Balkan area defined ethnic cleansing as "the attempt to make a given area ethnically homogeneous by using force or threats to oust the people belonging to other ethnic or religious groups from it.”