Zagreb Premieres Play About Croatian Serb Girl’s Murder

A controversial play about the wartime murder of 12-year-old Serb girl Aleksandra Zec and her family by Croatian soldiers in Zagreb in 1991 has opened in the capital.

The play about the murder case, also entitled ‘Aleksandra Zec’, opened in Zagreb on Wednesday after performances elsewhere in the country sparked protests.

It tells the story of the Zec family who were murdered in December 1991, when Croatian soldiers came to their house during the night, first killing Mihajlo Zec, then detaining his wife and 12-year-old daughter Aleksandra, taking them to the nearby Sljeme mountain, and murdering them too.

The five perpetrators confessed, but they were never convicted because of procedural irregularities during the trial.

“The authorities did not do what they supposed to, and that’s why this case was left in ‘official oblivion’,” the play’s director, Oliver Frljic, told a press conference on Wednesday.

“The team of people engaged in preparing this play think that it must not happen. We are doing this just to keep the public constantly reminded of this case,” he said.

The Zagreb premiere came after a performance at a theatre in Rijeka last month was picketed by war veterans who were angry because they said the play overlooked the Croatian children who were killed during the 1991-95 conflict.

Sven Milekic from the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, which has launched an initiative to name several streets after victims of Croatian forces in the 1990s, said that people like Zec should be remembered.

“Now is the time for institutions to do their job and to name public spaces [after victims], but it is the responsibility of society to remember the few brave and decent people from the wartime period in the 1990s,” Milekic said.(