Anulled- The Persecution of Victims of Ethnic Cleansing

Anulled- “Poništeni” The Persecution of Victims of Ethnic Cleansing

In the documentary “Poništeni” ( Anulled ) we get to see and hear the stories of those who have at first hand experienced the violation of their right and freedom to choose where they wish to live in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This article appeared yesterday Friday 23-12-2013 on Al Jazzera Balkans

So far there is no english translation to the documentary given that it aired 18th of December. However as soon as a version with subtitles is available we will post it.

By Al Jazzira Balkans 23-12-2013

These are the survivors of ethnic cleansing and their message is that today, years after the end of the Bosnian War, these survivors face what can best be described as “administrative persecution” by the authorities in the places in which they have returned after war.
After the referendum of March 1992, Bosnia decided to declare independence. That was the reason for the aggression on the country by the JNA (Yugoslav People´s Army) and paramilitary units from Serbia.

After the Army of Republika Srpska in July 1995 commited genocide in Srebrenica, forces lead by the international community and NATO stopped the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina by limited military intervention against the Army of Republika Srpska.

Aside from the 100 000 killed, one of the effects of the war was also ethnic cleansing, which was “systematic and planned” according to the UN-reports by the Army of Republika Srpska.

On the 14th of November 1995 the Dayton Peace Accords effectively split the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina into two enteties.
Even though Annex 7 of the accords gives special rights to refugees, returnees and those displaced by the war, rights in which it says that they are allowed to return to their pre-war homes. In the Entity Republika Srpska only some 30% have returned home, mostly Bosniaks and Croats driven away from their homes during the war.

Despite all that and the fact that the Bosnian constitution and the law on residence which guarantees freedoms and rights of residence, in the beginning of 2012 ministry of the interior of Republika Srpska started conducting illegal checks, visiting returnees homes without any prior notice and if they did not find the returnees at the places where they were registered, the ministry precided to anull the returnees ID-cards.
During this process 400 ID-cards were destroyed or annulled in Foča, Srebrenica, Višegrad, Derventa, Prijedor and other town throughout Republika Srpska.

Proposal for amendments to the law on permanent and temporary residence was adopted by the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH.
Returnees fear that the proposed changes might legalize the so-called spot checks, and that the inspection could lead to cancellation of registration of residence Bosnian citizens who are currently living abroad, but also complicate the procedure of registration of returnees and displaced persons.

Experiences from Srebrenica, Višegrad, Foča and other cities around the RS show that if the inspectors wrongly interpret a situation, without complaints of those who live abroad as refugees or those who have returned but are not adequately informed, this could become the status quo, meaning that if someone is not at home or is abroad during one of these inspections the ministry of interior can annul the returnees ID-cards.

After the proposed changes to the law were twice brought in front of Constitutional Court in relation to the determination of questions of threat to vital interests of the constituent peoples, the proposal will be decided by the House of Peoples a majority, with at least one third of the votes from each entity is needed.

The only thing that Bosniak delegates in the House of Peoples can do is leave the session at the time of voting for the proposal, since without their presence there is no quorum for decision-making.

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