Murder of Nikola Gardović

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On 1 March 1992, a Serbian wedding in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, was shot at amidst the Bosnian independence referendum;[1] as the wedding procession wound its way through the old Muslim section of the city called Baščaršija, the wedding guests brandished Serbian flags. This was interpreted by the Muslims present as an act of deliberate provocation when an independence referendum had been held which was supported by most Bosnian Croats and Muslims but boycotted by most of the Bosnian Serbs.[2] Ramiz Delalić, was identified as the killer by witnesses. Known as "Celo", he was a minor Bosniak gangster who had become an increasingly brazen criminal since the fall of communism. Arrest warrants were issued against him and another suspected assailant;[3] the wedding guests had left the wedding of Milan Gardović and Dijana Tambur at the Church of the Holy Transfiguration to hold the wedding meal at the Old Orthodox Church in Sarajevo. As there were no parking outside that church, the guests walked 150–200 m; the groom's father, Nikola Gardović, was fatally wounded, dying in the ambulance. The Serbian flag, which had been carried by Nikola Gardović as the stari svat (ceremonial master), was set on fire[by whom?]. Radenko Miković, a Serbian Orthodox priest was wounded, but survived the attack; the attack caused a public outcry in the Serbian community. It is regarded by Bosnian Serbs as the starting point of the Bosnian War;[4] the incident is commonly known as the bloody wedding (Serbo-Croatian: Krvava svadba) or murder of the stari svat (Serbian: Убиство старог свата).

The Bosnian Serb leader Momčilo Krajišnik, who at that time was the Speaker of the Bosnian parliament, declared it as a "great injustice aimed at the Serbian people."[2] The leaders of SDS party denounced the killing. Radovan Karadžić stated to a TV interviewer that the shooting proved that all Serbs in Bosnia lived in danger. Other SDS spokesmen charged that the failure to arrest him was due to the SDA party or the Bosnian government of being complicit in it.[3]

A SDS spokesman stated it was an evidence that Serbs were in mortal danger and would be further so in independent Bosnia; this was rejected by Sefer Halilović, founder of Patriotic League, who stated that it wasn't a wedding but a provocation and accused the wedding guests of being SDS activists.[5]


  1. ^ Judah, Tim (2008). "The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia". Yale University Press. p. 320. ISBN 9780300147841.
  2. ^ a b Kumar, Radha (1999). "Divide and Fall? Bosnia in the Annals of Partition". Verso. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-85984-183-9.
  3. ^ a b Donia, Robert J. (2014). "Radovan Karadzic: Architect of the Bosnian Genocide". Cambridge University Press. p. 162. ISBN 9781107073357.
  4. ^ Hammond, Philip (2007). Framing Post-Cold War Conflicts: The Media and International Intervention. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-7190-7696-1.
  5. ^ Morrison, Kenneth (2016). "Sarajevo's Holiday Inn on the Frontline of Politics and War". Springer. p. 88. ISBN 9781137577184.


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