World, Europe

Bosnia starts removing unauthorized church on Muslim woman's land

79-year-old Orlovic struggled for years to get removed Orthodox church built in her garden by Serbs during Bosnian War

Talha Ozturk   | 05.06.2021
Bosnia starts removing unauthorized church on Muslim woman's land Destruction works of an Orthodox church, which was built without permission at Bosnian woman Fata Orlovic's garden, are carried out in Konyevic Polye village of Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 05, 2021. ( Adem Mehemdovic - Anadolu Agency )

BELGRADE, Serbia

Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday began demolition of a church built by Serbs at the garden of a Muslim Bosnian woman.

Fata Orlovic, a 79-year-old Bosnian woman, has been struggling for years to get removed the illegally built Orthodox church in her garden by the Serbs during the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995.

Orlovic's lawyer, Rusmir Karkin, announced on social media that construction equipment is on the site and that the work to remove the church started this morning.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2019 ruled to demolish the unauthorized church.

The ECHR said the order should be implemented within three months. However, the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina waited until June 2021.

Orlovic lived with her husband and seven children in Konjevic Polje near Srebrenica before losing 22 relatives, including her husband Sacir, during the war.

She lived as a refugee in different parts of the country and did not leave her native land despite her children living in the US insisting on living with them.

After the war, she returned to her village in 1999 and witnessed a church built in her garden.

Orlovic then filed a lawsuit for the removal of the church and rejected the money offered to her to withdraw it.

In 2010, she won the 11-year legal battle, but the court's decision was never implemented.

The Bijeljina Court had ruled that the church should be demolished, but the Supreme Court of Republika Srpska, one of the two entities of the country, suspended the verdict.

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