The Sarajevo mourns him Serb A general who defended the city during its siege by Serbian forces for almost four years to become the symbol of the Bosnian capital ‘s multinational defense during the war, the APE reports.
Jovan Divjak was an officer in the Yugoslav People’s Army before leaving when the break-up of Yugoslavia began and joined the Bosnian army when the war broke out there in April 1992. He died Thursday at the age of 84 after a long illness.
Born in Belgrade, he spent most of his military career in Bosnia and considered himself a Bosnian.
Jovan Divjak earned the respect of his fellow citizens when he climbed into a tank when the Yugoslav People’s Army withdrew in May 1992 to prevent Sarajevo citizens from firing on his soldiers.
“He was the only general who shouted, ‘Do not shoot,’ instead of ‘shoot,'” Bosnian director Danis Tanovic said during a memorial service at the National Theater in Sarajevo.
Jovan Divjak was the only Serb member of the Bosnian army command during the war.
In 2011, he was detained by Austrian police on a Serbian arrest warrant on charges related to the departure of the Yugoslav People’s Army phalanx from Bosnia, but was released by an Austrian court ruling that he could not guarantee a fair trial in Serbia.
When the war ended, Diviak left the army and joined the Education Builds Bosnia-Herzegovina charity he founded to help war orphans. The organization offered 7,300 scholarships to children who had lost their parents and to poor children.
“It’s a huge loss for me,” said Mohamed Bojaci, who was rescued as a child by a bomb blast at a Sarajevo hospital and later received a scholarship.
Sarajevo authorities have banned citizens from attending the funeral of Jovan Divjak due to restrictive measures to deal with the epidemic.