Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

The Righteous Man

School head stood up to pressure to expel non-Serb children.

Lazar Manojlovic was head of a primary school in Bijeljina when the war broke out in Bosnia in 1992. A Bosnian Serb, he refused orders given by the local Serb authorities to expel all the non-Serb children from the school.

"As long as I am school principal, this will be a school for all pupils and teachers, regardless of their nationality," he said at the time.

One former student, a Bosniak girl called Meliha -- who had to adopt a Serb name for her own protection during the war -- describes Manojlovic as "a wonderful person".

He continued running the school until he was forced out at gunpoint in February 1994.

Even now, he is not optimistic about the future. The war may be long over, but the mood is of "lasting hopelessness", he said.

This film was produced by IWPR and Mebius Film to mark the 20th anniversary of the start of war in Bosnia, under IWPR's Programme for the Western Balkans and ICTY, funded by the Norwegian government.