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April 19, 1999
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 7-Special
Law on Awards

How to become a National Hero

The Patriotic Alliance of Yugoslavia (PSJ) proposed on April 13th, that President of FRY should be assigned the Award of a National Hero with a following explanation: the Foremost patriot of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic deserves the National Hero Award of the current Yugoslavia, thanks to his overall achievement and proved exceptional courage and resoluteness in defense of the everlasting values of a sovereign tradition and the people of Serbia and Montenegro, as well as of all vital interests of our fatherland. According to the words of PSJ, Slobodan Milosevic is "a synonym of the confirmed heroism and union of this nation, the army and all police forces as a guarantee to our victory over brutal fascism and imperialism which threats to subdue the entire world to its own interest". This idea was uttered with a great pomp, and subsequently the numerous approvals to the proposal were closer and closer to the page bottom until the entire story disappeared from public life.

The Law on Awards in FRY, announced in the Official Newspaper of FRY, issue 59, December 4th 1998, with a signature of the President of Republic, Milosevic, defines awards of FRY as signs of "public recognition which are assigned for work or accomplishments that deserve general recognition and accentuation". The National Hero Award, for which the President is nominated by the PSJ, "is assigned to members of VJ (Yugoslav Army) and MUP (Ministry of Internal Affairs), as well as to other individuals who demonstrated heroic deeds in defense and security of FRY and who serve as a remarkable example of bravery".

To a similar kind of awards belongs the Medal of Honour ("it is allocated to VJ and MUP members who have performed actions thanks to their personal courage or who have marked themselves with extraordinary bravery in defense of FRY. For such accomplishments, the Medal of Honour is allocated also to other individuals"); the Medal of the Yugoslav Flag ("it is bestowed on those who showed exceptional merits towards the state and for exploits in which patriotism was highly expressed"); the Award of Merit towards FRY ("it rewards the merits towards the state and the citizens of FRY"); the Award of VJ ("rewards exceptional merits in building and strengthening of the FRY armed forces or for exceptional mastery in conducting the military units, i.e. in making the military institutions ready for defending the independence of FRY"); the Medal of the Knightly Sword ("for unique merits in the field of defense and safety").

Since the Law on Awards (article 14) says that only the President of Republic bestows those awards in FRY and it was not predicted that anyone else is allowed to do so, it is not quite clear who will, in this case, sign the decree on awards and when.  

The Patriotic Alliance of Yugoslavia directed this proposal to the presidents of the Council of Citizens and the Council of the Republics of Federal Parliament, Miomir Minic and Srdja Bozovic, as well as to all committee members of the Parliament of FRY.

However, the law announces that award ceremonies in FRY are performed twice a year, in June and in December. The war, it seems, allows exceptions in this case 'according to the rule'.

Article 16 of this law offers the customary resolution on allocating the awards: "The smooth and elegant allocation of FRY awards (in a further text: investiture) consists of a public reading of the decree on awards, the appointment of an insignia and the charter on awards. The handing out of the insignia and the charter is performed by a person who performs the investiture. Military officers present at the ceremony utter an instructed military salutation to the awarded. And it follows: the investiture of great awards and emblems is rendered by the President of Republic or a personal representative of the President of Republic (article 17).

Awards can be revoked as a legal consequence of a charge, in the cases authorised by the Federal Law. The only awards that can never be annulled are the Award of a National Hero, the Award for Bravery, the Award of the Knightly Sword, the Obilic Medal and the Medal of Honour.

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