Montenegro’s Higher prosecution on Tuesday launched an investigation into hate chants ahead of the Montenegrin football cup final in the capital, Podgorica.
On May 29, media published video footage in which a group of Sutjeska club fans called “Vojvode” (Dukes) chanted “Knife, wire, Podgorica”, referring to a nationalist slogan that celebrates the 1995 mass killings by Serbs of Bosniaks in Srebrenica, Bosnia.
“The prosecution launched an investigation while police are collecting the necessary information in order to identify the person who chanted ‘Knife, wire, Podgorica’. After all the required data and evidence have been collected, the prosecution will analyze them and make a decision,” Higher Prosecutor Lepa Medenica told the media.
Sutjeska won the cup final match 5-4 on penalties against Arsenal from Plav. Police reported no incidents during the match.
On Tuesday, human rights activists and political parties called on authorities to investigate nationalist chants, saying hate speech must be publicly condemned and punished.
On Tuesday, Sutjeska’s management said that any inappropriate and illegal messages should be condemned, while the Montenegrin Football Association announced disciplinary proceedings against Sutjeska due to the behaviour of their fans.
“Since our group was founded it has never been a part of political structures and parties. Our chanting has nothing to do with any genocide or insulting national minorities. We are a multi-ethnic group so please don’t try to make us something we’re not,” the Vojvode football fan club said in a press release.
This was not the first such incident in football cup finals. In May 2021, during the match between Buducnost Podgorica and Decic, Podgorica’s club fans, known as the Barbarians, chanted a derogatory term for Albanians.
On May 10, UEFA fined the Montenegrin Football Association 20,000 euros for racism and discriminatory behaviour by Montenegrin fans during the European Championships qualifier with Serbia on March 27 in Podgorica.
It was not the first time the Montenegrin Association was punished for football fans’ chants. In 2020 UEFA ordered Montenegro to play behind closed doors after England players were racially abused during a European Championships qualifier.
Montenegrin national team fans the insulted Deputy Prime Minister, Dritan Abazovic, during the match with Latvia in 2021, which resulted in a fine of 20,000 Swiss francs imposed by FIFA on the Montenegrin Football Association and the exclusion of fans from one international match.
On November 2021, four members of the national team fan group Ultra Montenegro were questioned by police over insults hurled at Boris Raonic, head of Montenegro’s public broadcaster, during a home international against the Netherlands.
Montenegro is a multi-ethnic state in which no community makes up over half of its population. About 45 per cent of the population identify as Montenegrins and about 29 per cent as Serbs. The rest are Bosniaks, Albanians and others.
Source: Balkan Insight