Nobel winner Handke not welcome in Sarajevo and Kosovo

 Nobel winner Handke not welcome in Sarajevo and Kosovo
Literature laureate 2019 Peter Handke during the Nobel banquet at Stockholm City Hall, in Stockholm on Tuesday Dec. 10, 2019. (Anders Wiklund/TT News Agency via AP)

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Nobel Literature Prize laureate Peter Handke was on Wednesday proclaimed persona non-grata in the Bosnian capital and in Kosovo for his apologist views toward Serb war crimes during the wars in the 1990s.

Sarajevo’s regional parliament also denounced the Swedish Academy for giving the award to the Austrian novelist and screenplay writer. It was handed to him at a ceremony in Stockholm on Tuesday that was boycotted by Bosnian and officials from six other countries.

Handke has been a staunch supporter of the Serbs and their leader Slobodan Milosevic during his war campaigns in the Balkans and has disputed that the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in the town of Srebrenica in 1995 was genocide. Several rulings by international war crime courts have proclaimed the massacre in the eastern Bosnian enclave a genocide.

Kosovo followed suit Wednesday by declaring Handke unwelcome in the former Serbian province.

Kosovo acting Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli said on Twitter that he made the decision because of the support Handke “gave to Milosevic and his genocidal policies” in Kosovo and Bosnia.

Sarajevo regional lawmakers said Handke hasn’t changed his pro-Serb views even now so many years after the civil war in Bosnia, and is making another provocation by announcing he would visit Bosnian Serbs in a village close to Srebrenica.

‘’The handing of the Nobel Prize to such a person is an insult of the victims and his visit to Bosnia and Sarajevo would be additional humiliation of the victims of the Serbian aggression,” Sarajevo lawmakers said.

In Serbia, some lawmakers in the national parliament proposed that a human rights prize be established under Handke’s name for “bravery” he has shown while defending the Serb cause during the wars.