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EU court rules to demolish illegal church in Bosnia

Bosnia to remove unauthorized church in Muslim woman’s garden after 20 years

Talha Ozturk, Vesna Besic   | 01.10.2019
EU court rules to demolish illegal church in Bosnia FILE PHOTO

BELGRADE, Serbia

European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday ruled to demolish an unauthorized church built by Serbs at the garden of a Muslim Bosnian woman.

Fata Orlovic, 77-year-old Bosnian grandmother, has been struggling for years to remove the illegally built Orthodox church in her garden by the Serbs during the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995.

The court ordered the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina to demolish the unauthorized church in her garden.

ECHR said that the order should be implemented within three months.

Orlovic, who lived with her husband and 7 children in Konjevic Polje near Srebrenica before she lost 22 of her 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 all the persistence of her children living in the U.S.

She returned to her village in 1999 after the war was over and saw a church built in her garden.

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

She then won the 11-year legal battle in 2010, but the court's decision was never implemented.

The Bijeljina Court had ruled that the church be demolished, but the Supreme Court of Republika Srpska (RS), one of two country's entities, suspended the verdict.

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