Unidentified persons “renamed” a new sports center in a Sarajevo neighborhood after a local athlete murdered by a notorious war criminal during the Bosnian war, following the decision of a local municipal council to give the center a more neutral name.
Graffiti artists painted the name of Goran Čengić, a handball star of former Yugoslavia, on the front glass wall of the recently finished sports center in Grbavica. A debate on whether the center should be named after late Čengić ended this week when the Novo Sarajevo municipal council, controlled by Bosniak nationalist parties, voted to name the center “Novo Sarajevo” instead.
Čengić, a medal-winning athlete born to parents in a mixed Muslim-Serb marriage, was killed by a local warlord in Serb-held Grbavica in 1992, early into the Bosnian war. He was taken with a Muslim neighbor he tried to save from local militia to a remote site, where they were executed. His killer was recently convicted by the state court for war crimes committed in Grbavica.
The municipal council decision to reject the initiative of the opposition members of the council and not name the sports center after Čengić was criticized in the local media and on the internet, given that the slain athlete enjoys the reputation of a local hero in Sarajevo.