RTS postpones broadcast of controversial film about war crime in Croatia

The Serbian public television channel RTS said on Tuesday evening that it was postponing the broadcast of the documentary film "15 Minutes - The Dvor Massacre", about a war crime committed in Croatia in 1995, because of pressure from Croatia.

"Although this evening we were to broadcast the Danish documentary film '15 Minutes - The Dvor Massacre', which deals with a war crime committed during Operation Storm, we are postponing the broadcast. The RTS has been asked to do so by Danish producers for reasons of the safety of the Croatian crew involved in the making of the film," the RTS said in a statement on its website.

"Because of the current situation in Croatia, it is not advisable to broadcast the film because it might lead to an escalation of the situation, which would be very dangerous for the Croatian crew. Accusations against the film are unjustified, but until it reaches the Croatian audience it is best to wait," the statement said.

The film, directed by Georg Larsen and Kasper Vedesmand, deals with the killing of ten mentally ill and disabled persons in Dvor na Uni, about 150 km south of Zagreb, on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 8 August 1995. The film has triggered numerous reactions in Croatia because it implies that the war crime was committed by Croatian Army troops, although the perpetrators were never identified.

The Croatian Audio-Visual Centre (HAVC) supported the film project with HRK 250,000 (EUR 33,000).

The HAVC issued an apology last week, saying that the film caused justified protests from Croatian war veterans. It said it was taking the necessary steps to reduce the damage done to the Croatian public and cinematography.

The HAVC said that in cooperation with the Danish Film Institute it had made an additional condition for the film makers to correct "the unacceptable allegations contained in the film and expressed in the insufficient or erroneous text included in the film." It said that these problems had been identified after an irregular broadcast of the unauthorised version of the film by the RTS on 24 August 2015.

The HAVC said it was disappointed that the film had been altered in the production and broadcast without authorisation.

Croatian war veterans have strongly protested against the film, and a Croatian Army colonel has told the media that there were no Croatian troops in Dvor on the day in question. He has filed a criminal complaint against the film, saying that it is paradoxical that Croatia is co-financing a film whose authors have distorted the facts and falsely accused the Croatian Army of the Dvor massacre.

Last update: Wed, 16/03/2016 - 12:30
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