Srebrenica: 20 Years On | Short Documentary

Short documentary about the genocide in Srebrenica by Austrialian journalist Rusty Woodger. In his short doc Woodger points to what can be described as a culture of denial by the local Serbs in and around Srebrenica, above the execuation-sites like the one in Kravica where over 1000 people were executed 13th of July are now completly neglected.

Rusty gave permisson to to uppload his film on my blog. You can find him on twitter: @RIV_RWoodger

Comment by Rusty on why he decided to make this film:

The purpose of the film was to explore how the genocidal events of two decades ago are being acknowledged by the Bosnian Serbs who now dominate the area. Before embarking on the project I did a lot of reading and was stunned to discover some places where mass crimes took place were completely neglected and there was nothing to remember the many victims who were murdered there.

I had to see some of these places with my own eyes and was disappointed to see the things I read had been true.I also saw with my own eyes – and used my camera to document this – the stark difference in how the war is remembered in the Srebrenica region. Bosniak victims are barely acknowledged outside the Potočari cemetery while Bosnian Serb soldiers are remembered with huge Orthodox crosses or monuments. Overall I was disturbed by my visit to Srebrenica but I hope the film will help keep alive the memory of people and historical events which some others are still trying to hide or downplay.

Bosnien överlever översvämningarna – Det är politikerna som är den verkliga faran

Jag gör en uppdatering på min blogg just nu, vilket inkluderar artiklar som har publicerats i tidningar och nyhetsajter. Den här artikeln publicerades på Nyheter24Debatt 20 Maj 2014 

Att säga att Bosnien har genomlidit mycket de senaste tjugo åren känns som en underdrift med tanke på att landet genomgår sin svåraste kris sedan landet direkt efter sin självständighet ansattes av Milosevic och hans ultranationalistiska klienter i Bosnien, med Radovan Karadzic och Ratko Mladic i spetsen, de lyckades inte trots en massiv arsenal och tre år av öppen aggression förverkliga sin dröm om att dela upp Bosnien och skapa en etnisk ren Storserbien. De lyckades däremot, med giftig och livsfarlig propaganda vända folk mot varandra och övertyga folk om att de inte kunde leva ihop och jobba ihop med samma människor som de hade levt med i generationer. Livslånga band förstördes, liv förstördes, hela familjer utplånades och hela det bosniska samhällstyget rycktes upp för att bana väg för ett ”bättre” mer ”etnisk ren” samhälle. Karadzic och Mladic hamnade i Haag tillsammans med de flesta av sina medhjälpare där hamnade även Milosevic där han dog, men Bosnien överlevde med nöd och näppe.

Fortsätt läsa på Nyheter24Debatt…

With Šešelj’s Release from the Hague, Can There be Justice on the Ground in Bosnia?

 

David Pettigrrew shows solidarity with Bakira Hasecic at Straziste Cemetery in Visegrad. Photo by Markéta Slavková
David Pettigrew shows solidarity with Bakira Hasecic at Straziste Cemetery in Visegrad. Photo by Markéta Slavková

This is a guest post by Professor David Pettigrew. This article was published in Bosnian on Al-Jazeera Balkans 9-12-14

The recent release of ultranationalist demagogue Vojislav Šešelj1 from his detention at the Hague, for “compelling humanitarian reasons,”2 raises new questions about the legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Šešelj is charged, for example, with having “made inflammatory speeches in the media” and with having “espoused and encouraged the creation of a homogeneous ‘Greater Serbia,’ by violence, and thereby participated in war propaganda and incitement of hatred towards non-Serb people.”3 Upon his arrival in Belgrade following his release, Šešelj re-affirmed his commitment to pursuing a “Greater Serbia,” and brazenly asserted that he would never return voluntarily to the Hague. In addition to his “extreme ethnic rhetoric,” Šešelj is charged with “Persecutions” as a Crime Against Humanity, including murder, torture, and deportation.4

There is no doubt that the work of the ICTY is profoundly important, but Šešelj’s release indicates the troubling limits of the judgments of the Court. For example, even if Radovan Karadžić would be convicted on both counts of Genocide, the entity of Republika Sprska, with its political and cultural policies of genocide denial and the glorification of war criminals, would continue to exist, thereby circumscribing the limits of judicial processes in matters of justice and human rights.

In addition to the difficulties of achieving meaningful justice at the ICTY, there are frustrating obstacles to achieving “justice on the ground” in Republika Srpska. For example, the authorities in Republika Srpska have declared their intention to demolish the Pionirska Street house. The destruction of the house would erase all traces of the crimes that were perpetrated in 1992 when innocent women and children were burned alive both in the Bikavac neighborhood and in the Pionirska Street house. These were crimes, it must be said, that were described by the ICTY as “the worst acts of inhumanity that a person may inflict upon others.”5

Nonetheless, the authorities in Republika Srpska have designated the Pionirska Street house for demolition as part of a municipal road construction project, even though the foundation of the house is quite obviously far removed from the adjacent roadbed. A “red tape” was placed around the house by the authorities, announcing the condemnation of the property and prohibiting access.

In response to the plans to destroy the house and erase any evidence of the crimes, Mrs. Bakira Hasečić, President of the Association of Women Victims of War, organized an effort to restore the Pionirska Street house, a restoration that was to include a memorial museum for the victims in the basement where they were viciously murdered. Mrs. Hasečić’s efforts, however, led to her being the target of criminal investigations for “illegal construction,” and for crossing the “red tape,” or, what could be termed the “red line.”

At this point the final appeal to prevent the destruction of the house has been exhausted and Mrs. Hasečić is still being targeted for investigation and prosecution. Thus, Mrs. Hasečić is being targeted and persecuted a second time: she was first targeted and persecuted in 1992 as a result of the genocidal policies of Mr. Šešelj and Mr. Karadžić, and now she is targeted and persecuted once again as part of the apartheid politics of Republika Srpska; apartheid politics masquerading as the “rule of law.”

On March 18, 2014, I crossed the “red line” of the “red tape” at the Pionirska Street house in solidarity with Mrs. Hasečić, in order to respect and honor the memory of the victims of the crime, one of two crimes that the International Criminal Court insisted, stand out “for the viciousness of the incendiary attack, for the obvious premeditation and calculation that defined it, for the sheer callousness and brutality of herding, trapping and locking the victims in the two houses, thereby rendering them helpless in the ensuing inferno, and for the degree of pain and suffering inflicted on the victims as they were burnt alive.”6 The question now, is whether, as Vojislav Šešelj is receiving a hero’s welcome in Belgrade and is affirming the ideology of a “Greater Serbia,” the international community will find the resolve to support Mrs. Hasečić and to save the Pionirska Street house from demolition.

In his comments in Prague on October 30, 2014, the High Representative Valentin Inzko stated that “the international community needs to change” and that it must be “much more united,” and “more prescriptive” in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The High Representative insisted that Republika Srpska would not be allowed to secede and that Srebrenica would never be situated in a separate country.7 The High Representative also described genocide denial as “unbelievable,” and the glorification of war criminals in Republika Srpska as simply “unacceptable.” Such a glorification of war criminals is equivalent, in his opinion, to “hate speech.” He emphasized that Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to enact laws against genocide denial and hate speech.8

In response to Šešelj’s release from the Hague, and to his avowal of ultranationalism and hate speech, let us seek justice on the ground in Republika Srpska. If the right to the freedom of cultural expression guaranteed by the core International Human Rights documents does not include the right to memorialize and mourn the victims of a genocide, and to be protected against discrimination in this regard, then the documents would have no meaning.9 Survivors have also been prohibited from installing memorials to the victims of atrocities in Foča and Prijedor.

Accordingly, in the spirit of Mr. Inzko’s recent comments in Prague, I invite the High Representative and representatives of the international community to join me in crossing and defying the “red tape” at the Pionirska Street house in Republika Sprska, in the sense that this “red line” is the line of genocide denial, hate speech, discrimination, persecution, psychological intimidation and dehumanizing exclusion. Let us cross the red line together in remembrance of the victims, in solidarity with the survivors, and in support of human rights. When efforts to achieve justice are frustrated at the Hague, let us support human rights and justice on the ground in Republika Srpska.

Vojislav Šešelj is charged, among other crimes, with the “deliberate destruction of homes…cultural institutions, historic monuments and sacred sites.”10 Tragically, without some form of unified action, the anticipated demolition of the Pionirska Street house will be nothing less than the cruel re-enactment, in 2014, of the genocide that occurred between 1992-1995. The destruction of the Pionirska Street house will re-enact the Bosnian Serb Army’s practice of destroying homes, mosques and cultural institutions in civilian towns and villages, such as occurred from Kozarac (Prijedor Municipality) to Klotjevac (Srebrenica Municipality), and in many other locations. The international community was unable to stop the murder of civilians and the destruction of their homes from 1992 – 1995. The question is whether the international community will unite and act now to protect Mrs. Hasečić from further criminal investigation and prevent the destruction of the Pionirska Street house.

David Pettigrew, PhD

Professor of Philosophy, Southern Connecticut State University,

Member, Steering Committee, Yale University Genocide Studies Program,

International Team of Experts Institute for Research of Genocide Canada,

Board Member, Bosnian American Genocide Institute and Education Center, Chicago, IL

NOTES:

  1. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Third Amended Indictment, Šešelj (IT-03-67-T), December 7, 2007, accessed November 28, 2014, http://www.icty.org/x/cases/seselj/ind/en/seslj3rdind071207e.pdf
  2. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ORDER ON THE PROVISIONAL RELEASE OF THE ACCUSED PROPRIO MOTU (IT-03-67-T), Trial Chamber III, November 6, 2014, accessed November 28, 2014, http://www.icty.org/x/cases/seselj/tord/en/141106.pdf
  3. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Third Amended Indictment, Šešelj (IT-03-67-T), §10, b and c, December 7, 2007, accessed November 28, 2014.
  4. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Third Amended Indictment, Šešelj (IT-03-67-T), §22, 24, 26, 27, 28-33, December 7, 2007, accessed November 28, 2014,
  5. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Judgement, §1061, Trial Chamber III, July 20, 2009, accessed November 28, 2014, http://www.icty.org/x/cases/milan_lukic_sredoje_lukic/tjug/en/090720_j.pdf
  6. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Judgement, Milan Lukić-Sredoje Lukić (IT-98-32/1-T), Judgement, §740, Trial Chamber III, July 20, 2009, http://www.icty.org/x/cases/milan_lukic_sredoje_lukic/tjug/en/090720_j.pdf
  7. Inzko, Valentin. “Panel Presentation and Discussion.” “Conference on “European Integration of the Western Balkans” Council for International Relations in Cooperation with Ministry of Foreign Affairs Czech Republic, Prague. 30 Oct. 2014. Speech. http://www.rmv.cz/cz/detail-clanku/integrace-balkanu-do-evropske-unie-mezinarodni-konference/#.VFkrmUv0gTN
  8. Ibid.
  9. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights affirms that “the ideal of free human beings enjoying freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his economic, social and cultural rights, as well as his civil and political rights.” http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CESCR.aspx

The International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, Part I, Article 2 (2.) states that “Parties shall, when the circumstances so warrant, take, in the social, economic, cultural and other fields, special and concrete measures to ensure the adequate development and protection of certain racial groups or individuals belonging to them, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” Article 5, (e) specifies Economic, social and cultural rights, including “(vi) The right to equal participation in cultural activities.” While the Pionirska Street house faces demolition in Višegrad, a statue that honors the perpetrators of the genocide has been installed in the middle of town, clearly indicating a discriminatory policy with regard to the cultural practice of memorialization. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CERD.aspx

 

  1. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Third Amended Indictment, Šešelj (IT-03-67-T), §17 j, December 7, 2007, accessed November 28, 2014, http://www.icty.org/x/cases/seselj/ind/en/seslj3rdind071207e.pdf

Open Letter To ICTY President Theodor Meron

 

The Old bridge ( Na Drini Cuprija) Višegrad
The Old bridge ( Na Drini Cuprija) Višegrad

 

This is a guest post by professor David Pettigrew.

Dear President Meron:

I am writing to you to express a grave concern about the ICTY’s prosecution of Mr. Radovan Karadžić, particularly regarding the removal of Višegrad and other municipalities from the indictment.

Approximately one year ago, on July 11, 2013, the Appeals Chamber reversed the Trial Chamber’s acquittal of Mr. Karadžić for genocide in the municipalities named under Count 1 of the indictment, and reinstated the charges against Mr. Karadžić under Count 1.1

The Appeals Chamber noted that “statements on the record … suggest that Karadžić possessed genocidal intent. For example, Mr. Karadžić is alleged to have said that his goal was ‘to get rid of the enemies in our house, the Croats and Muslims, and not to be in the same state with them [anymore]’ and that if war started in Bosnia, Muslims would disappear and be annihilated.”2

Thus, with the reinstatement of the charges under Count 1, it appeared that Mr. Karadžić would be prosecuted for the crime of genocide for atrocities committed in municipalities such as Prijedor and Višegrad, and that, through the legal process, there would be the possibility of a conviction for genocide under Count 1.

Moreover, the reinstatement of Count 1 for genocide was profoundly significant since, as the Appeals Chamber Judgement Summary stated, “the case concerns events that occurred between 31 March 1992 and 31 December 1992 in certain municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina claimed as Bosnian Serb territory…”3 In other words, the area “claimed as Bosnian Serb territory” was nothing other than the territory that is known as “Republika Srpska.” Accordingly, in the event that there is a conviction on the charge of genocide under Count 1, there would be confirmation that genocide was not only committed in Srebrenica, but that the genocidal intent of Mr. Karadžić pertained to the entirety of the territory of Republika Srpska. The profoundly important implication of this confirmation would be that Republika Srpska was founded upon a genocidal intention and that its territory was secured through genocidal atrocities. 4

However –and here is the matter of my concern– according to the October 8, 2009 Trial Chamber decision regarding the reduction of the scope of the Karadžić case, a reduction purportedly designed to insure that the trial would be conducted in “a fair and expeditious manner,” “the Prosecution proposed to remove eight municipalities in their entirety from the presentation of evidence.”5 The municipalities that were removed from the indictment included, Bosanski Petrovac, Kalinovik, Kotor Varoš, and Višegrad.  The removal of the selected municipalities from the indictment is evidenced by a line that is drawn through, or “struck through” the name of each of the selected municipalities. For example, Višegrad appears as such in the Prosecution’s Marked-up Indictment.

In its written decision the Court stated that “the preclusion of evidence pertaining to certain crime sites or incidents is not meant to suggest that the associated charges are of lesser importance than others.”6 However, “striking through” Višegrad, and removing the municipality from the indictment seems to fly in the face of the Court’s own ruling with respect to the crimes committed therein.  In his Judgement Summary for Milan Lukić and Sredoje Lukić of 20 July 2009, regarding crimes committed in Višegrad, Judge Robinson stated that:

The Pionirska street fire [June 14, 1992] and the Bikavac fire [June 27, 1992] exemplify the worst acts of inhumanity that a person may inflict upon others. In the all too long, sad and wretched history of man’s inhumanity to man, the Pionirska street and Bikavac fires must rank high. At the close of the twentieth century, a century marked by war and bloodshed on a colossal scale, these horrific events stand out for the viciousness of the incendiary attack, for the obvious premeditation and calculation that defined it, for the sheer callousness and brutality of herding, trapping and locking the victims in the two houses, thereby rendering them helpless in the ensuing inferno, and for the degree of pain and suffering inflicted on the victims as they were burnt alive. There is a unique cruelty in expunging all traces of the individual victims which must heighten the gravity ascribed to these crimes.”7

Having read Judge Robinson’s statement, and, having personally witnessed the exhumation of the human remains of victims from Višegrad in August 2010 when I accompanied the Bosnian Missing Persons Institute and the International Commission on Missing Persons in the course of their mission, it would not have occurred to me that it was in the interest of justice to remove Višegrad and the crimes committed therein from the indictment.

In your recent address to the U.N. Security Council, you spoke briefly about a range of expectations and implications of the ICTY’s decisions in relation to justice, peace and reconciliation.8 Your thoughtful reflections raise a question about the effect that the Court’s actions (or inactions) may have on certain perceptions. It seems, indeed, in the present context, that the absence of a conviction for genocide in Prijedor and the absence of a charge for genocide in Višegrad may well have emboldened the Bosnian Serb majority in those municipalities in their denials of the atrocities that were committed and in their suppression of the commemoration of the atrocities.

In Prijedor, for example, survivors have been forbidden from using the term “genocide” in public gatherings and have, moreover, been prohibited from installing memorials to the victims. In 2006, the local administration in Prijedor effectively prevented the installation of a memorial in the “White House” building that was part of the Omarska Concentration Camp. On December 1, 2005, ArcelorMittal, the current owner of the Omarska mining complex had actually agreed to allow the memorial to be installed and to provide financial support, but the Prijedor administration resisted the installation.

In Višegrad, the authorities threatened to destroy or remove a memorial to the victims in a private Muslim cemetery. Then, on January 23, 2014, the authorities forcibly entered the cemetery and ground the word “genocide” off the memorial.  It could be said that the Bosnian Serb-dominated municipality had effectively “struck through” or had “struck out” the term “genocide” from the memorial in the same way Višegrad had been struck through in the Prosecution’s Marked-Up Indictment.  If the intention was different, the result was the same.

In the meantime, it should not escape our attention that memorials to the perpetrators have been installed in Trnopolje (Prijedor), and Višegrad, and that only recently a memorial plaque honoring Commander Ratko Mladić, was installed in the hills above Sarajevo.

Hence, in the event that the prosecution of Mr. Karadžić culminates in a conviction for genocide under Count 1 in the named municipalities, it would be imperative, in the interest of justice, that the Court’s Judgement include a clear statement to the effect that while the conviction for genocide refers to a set of selected municipalities (the municipalities that remained in the indictment), in its essence, and in truth, the conviction for genocide under Count 1 would be a conviction for a genocidal intention that applied to the entirety of  the area “claimed as Bosnian Serb territory.”

If such a statement can be included in the Court’s Judgement, then those municipalities that were arbitrarily removed from the indictment would be inscribed once again in the essential scope of the conviction, an act of inclusion that would respect and respond to the singularity of the suffering that occurred throughout Republika Srpska as a result of the genocidal intention of the overarching joint criminal enterprise of its founding leadership.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

David Pettigrew, PhD Professor of Philosophy, Southern Connecticut State University,

Steering Committee, Yale University Genocide Studies Program,

International Team of Experts Institute for Research of Genocide, Canada,

Board Member, Bosnian American Genocide Institute and Education Center, Chicago, IL, USA

With the endorsement of:

Sanja Seferović-Drnovšek, J.D., M.Ed.,

Chair
person, Bosnian American Genocide Institute and Education Center (BAGI) Member, Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission;

Prof. Emir Ramić, Chairman,

Institute for the Research of Genocide, Canada (IRGC);

Prof. Dr. Rasim Muratović, Director,

Institute for the Research of Crimes Against Humanity and International Law, University of Sarajevo;

Satko Mujagić, Association of Victims and Witnesses of Genocide;

Ajla Delkić, Executive Director,

Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina;

Hamdija Čustović, President, Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB);

Bakira Hasečić, President, Association of Women Victims of War;

Selena Seferović, Director, Bosnian Library Chicago;

Prof. Dr. Senadin Lavić, President,

Bosniak Cultural Association, “Renaissance”;
Dr. Hariz Halilovich, Senior Lecturer,

Office of the Vice-Provost (Learning and Teaching),

Monash University, Victoria, Australia;

Dr. Marko Attila Hoare,

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences,

Kingston University, London;

Anes Džunuzović, Udruženje ”Mladi Muslimani” [Young Muslims];

Mr. Sc. Sedad Bešlija, Active Bosniak Network.

Aleksandar Vučić´s Amnesia

Aleksandar Vučić, Milorad Dodik, Emir/Nemanja Kusturica  Ivica Dačić in a Saturday night live comedy skit
Aleksandar Vučić, Milorad Dodik, Emir Kusturica, Ivica Dačić

 

This column appeared originally on the website of the Bosnian daily Oslobodjenje 15/05/2014. It was written by award-winning Croatian writer Boris Dežulović. I had planned to translate it and post this article on my blog, however almost directly after Aleksandar Vučić ´s visit to Sarajevo and statements he made while there horrific floods hit Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia causing damage worth millions and killing dozens of people, maybe more and eclipsed everything else that was going on at the time. In the time that has passed since then Vučić has made further controversial statements including remarks about the First World War Centenary Commemoration 21–28 June 2014 called: Sarajevo heart of Europe. Vučić refused to participate in the event giving to two reasons for his nonattendance, one, that he had some minor complaints about the program and that he would have preferred it if Bosnia and Serbia had done something together and the other reason was because he could not stand in front of plaque where it says “Serb fascist aggressor” he added that he cannot and does not wish to feel that way.

The plaque he was referring to was the one at the entrance of Sarajevo´s newly restored National Library. ( Or Vjecnica as it´s populary known) On 25th of August 1992,  shelling from Bosnian Serb positions around Sarajevo caused the complete destruction of the building; among the things that went up in flame were 700 manuscripts and incunabula and a unique collection of Bosnian serial publications, some from the middle of the 19th century Bosnian cultural revival. Before the attack, the library held 1.5 million volumes and over 155,000 rare books and manuscripts.  The destruction of the National Library is now widely seen as an example of Ubricide, one of many in the Bosnian War. The national library was seen as a cultural symbol of Bosnia and Herzegovina and spoke of a presence of a heterogeneous Bosnian culture and therefor had to be destroyed.  Vjecnica was re-opened on 9th of May 2014, by the entrance a plaque reads: On this place Serbian Criminals in the night of 25th-26th August 1992 set on fire national and university’s library of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Over two million books, periodicals and documents vanished in the flame. Do not forget, remember and warn!

It´s understandable that Aleksandar Vučić might feel offended by that, however it´s does not make words on the plaque any less true, and it certainly does not say “fascist aggressor” even if one can’t not think of any reason not call the regime of Slobodan Milosevic and his clients in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Radovan Karadzic, Nikola Koljevic, Biljana Plavsic and Ratko Mladic fascist. They did jointly execute a campaign which caused the death and forcible relocation of thousands of people in Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo. It´s might be difficult for Vucic to argue that the Milosevic regime was not a fascistic one and impossible for him to deny that nobody cheered more for a Greater Serbia then he did. Nor does Aleksandar Vučić´s disappointment somehow erase the fact that during the three and half year long siege of Sarajevo 11541 people were killed, of those 1601 were children. Approximately 50 000 people were wounded.

In May 1994, two years before the end of the siege, the most comprehensive UN-Report on the siege of Sarajevo was published. According to the report, the structural damage and damage to property in Sarajevo as a result of the siege included hospitals and other medical buildings and ambulances and medical personnel, doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers with more. Civilians have also been subjected to attacks, which can in no way be justified by the current state of war.

According to the report:

The siege has not spared any sector of Sarajevo’s population. UNICEF reported that of the estimated 65,000 to 80,000 children in the city: at least 40 per cent had been directly shot at by snipers; 51 per cent had seen someone killed; 39 per cent had seen one or more family members killed; 19 per cent had witnessed a massacre; 48 per cent had their home occupied by someone else; 73 per cent have had their home attacked or shelled; and 89 per cent had lived in underground shelters. It is probable that the psychological trauma suffered during the siege will bear heavily on the lives of these children in the years to come. (Civilian Casualties)

Nor does it mean that he was not a member of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) from 1993 to 2008. Constantly by the side of Serbian ultranationalist and warmonger Vojislav Šešelj together with Tomislav Nikolic, the current president of Serbia and former member of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) That could be the reason Aleksandar Vučić does not like to talk about the past. After his visit in Sarajevo in May he stated  that he did not allow anybody to hold any lectures about the past.  According toVučić  “he could feel the distrust of some people, and that he felt that some people thought that he would be easy to talk to, that they could lecture him about the past, he did not allow that.”

Nevertheless that did not stop several pundits in the Balkans from pointing to what can only be described as Vučić´s selective amnesia. As I wrote above,  one of those was award-winning writer Boris Dežulović in a column published in Bosnian daily Oslobodjenje 15/052014.

AmnezijaVucica

By  Boris Dežulović 

I got a call from Kožo the other day, he´d called me up to tell me a joke. He has a tendency to do that, calls you up in the middle of the night to tell you a joke. The joke goes; a child asked Aleksandar Vučić what´s the difference between amnesia and amnesty?  Vučić replied; “Amnesia is when you forget what you did yesterday” and amnesty is when everybody else around you forgets what you did yesterday”

It´s a practical thing, amnesia, amnesty whatever. You rediscover the world around you every day, and your place in that world. Your entire life is like that box of chocolates from Forrest Gump. Amnesia is especially handy when it comes to politics. That´s why you´ll often hear politicians say “forget the past” That is their plea for amnesty: Amnesty is as you may have understood, a form of collective amnesia. Why  would only their lives be a box of chocolates?

The only unfortunate thing is if “what he did yesterday” remains written down somewhere. As it happened during Vučić´s friendly visit to Sarajevo someone highly resentful revealed that the White Book, the party program of Vučić´s  party  SNS posted on the official site of the party, under paragraph two reads:

“The fight for the right to live, their property and return to their households, Serb refugees from the Republic of Serbian Krajina and Croatian will be one of the basic causes of Serbian progressives. (SNS) At the same time, coming closer politically and economic unity with Republika Srpska presents a very real political aim which will in the future and in a peaceful manner and respecting the will of the people create conditions for the formation of unified or single state of Serbian people and all other peoples living on the territory of Serbia and Republika Srpska.”

It´s commendable, of course that Vučić turned his back on Greater Serbia along the Karlobag-Karlovac-Virovitica line and being the practical man that he is, took Greater Serbia to a “Bit Smaller Serbia” or “Middle-sized Serbia” along the line Trebinje-Nevesinje-Kostajnica However it´s akward when it turns out that you are now on an official visit to what was yesterday Greater Serbia and today “Middle sized Serbia” As it´s not in the best spirit of diplomatic tradition that in your party´s political program says that you plan to annex the parts of the country that you are visiting,  Aleksandar Vučić grabbed the first cell phone he could find and called Belgrade ordering the parts about Middle-sized Serbia to be erased.

That´s how Aleksandar Vučić changed his party´s political program the way someone might change the settings on his remote control. So when he checked on the internet that Middle-sized Serbia was gone from the program, he started waving his White Book in which there is nothing about that. But alas – a moot point, it remained in the Latin version of the text! And while the president of the Serbian Progressives (SNS) in Sarajevo, in Cyrillic exclaimed he came as a “friend” and ”a representative of a country that respects the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina”  his predecessor and president of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić, in Latin repeated that “it was becoming more and more obvious that Bosnia and Herzegovina could not last.” It´s complicated you see, it´s two official state letters.

In addition to issues of credibility of a party that has it´s program changed depending on where it´s president at that moment is eating his kebab, this affair posed another question: “What is the past exactly?”  It´s nice of Vučić to say; “let´s forget the past” -why would only his life be a box of chocolates-but before we rush into our brotherly amnesia we should as a precaution define the past.

When those resentful ones pulled out  how the youngest deputy in the Serbian Assembly during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina called on to kill one hundred Muslims for every dead Serb, Vučić responded by saying that we should forget the past, and that was a long time ago. Twenty years ago.

When those resentful ones pulled out how he was one of Slobodan Milošević´s faithful soldiers, and minister of information in the darkest period for Serbian journalism, when all independent newspapers and TV-stations were banned and Slavko Ćuruvija assassinated, Vučić responded by saying that we should forget the past, and that was a long time ago. Fifteen years ago.

When those resentful ones pulled out that he was one of Vojislav Šešelj´s faithful soldiers and that the “Red Duke” (nickname for Šešelj given to him by Vuk Drašković ) was the best man at his wedding and the godfather to his children, Vučić responded by saying that we should forget the past, and that was a long time ago. Ten years ago.

When those resentful ones pulled out how he had proclaimed the Serbian Assembly to be a safe house for Karadžić and Mladić, and that he posted signs along the Zoran Đinđić Boulevard in Belgrade that said: “Ratko Mladić Boulevard” Vučić responded by saying that we should forget the past, and that was a long time ago. Five years ago.

When those resentful ones finally pulled out how in the party program of his SNS posted on it´s official web-site it says “A united Serb state and all others citizens who live there, on the territory of Repubilka Srpska and Serbia,” Vučić responded by saying that we should forget the past, and that was a long time ago. Five minutes ago.

You have to admit, it´s a wonderful thing, amnesty? It frees a man of all responsibility for everything he says or does because as soon as he says or does something, he has already – isn´t grammar a wonderful thing? Said and done it in the past. “Past”- the one we have to forget.  In Vučić´s definition that means everything that has as the word says “past” In a broader sense it´s a collection of events that have occurred since the beginning of time until the beginning of the sentence pronounced by Aleksandar Vučić at that moment, in the narrow sense and everything that has happened since the beginning of the sentence by the time the end of the Serbian prime minister says: “And that’s why past should be forgotten. “

– In what sense? – You ask understandably confused.

– In what sense what? – Then asks a confused Vučić

 

As Boris Dežulović noted in his column, back 25th of July 1995,  two weeks after the fall of Srebrenica. Aleksandar Vučić then a member of Vojislav Šešelj´s Serbian Radical Party proclaimed from the podium in the Serbian Assembly “that for every Serb that is killed, we´ll kill a hundered Muslims”

In May 1995 Vučić was a part of delegation that included Vojislav Šešelj and current president of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić, visiting the Serb held hills above Sarajevo when a Bosnian Army rocket nearly hit the convoy. In the Youtube video you can see the confusion and commotion after the near-miss. The jeep in which Vučić,Šešelj and Nikolić travelled in had according to reports on the hood a skull of a killed Bosniak. The skull is visible near the end of the clip.

While still a member of the Serbian Radical Party. Vučić was a strong supporter of  Ratko Mladić  calling for his protection. In 2007, while Ratko Mladić, was still at large in Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić was distributing posters stating “A safe house for general Mladić”. During a parliament session he stated that the Serbian Parliament will always protect and be a safe house for the general and that any house in Serbia that bears the last name of Vučić will protect and shelter Ratko Mladić as can be seen in the clip below.

 

 

 

 

Continuation of genocide by other means

A Bosniak woman woman cries next to coffins during a mass funeral for victims from Visegrad. (2012)
A Bosniak woman woman cries next to coffins during a mass funeral for victims from Visegrad. (2012)

This is a continued effort to highlight the discrimination faced by returnees to the Podrinje region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Podrinje or the Drina Valley was scene to some of the most vicious pogroms and mass killings during the Bosnian War. On January 23d local Serb authorities in eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad removed the word “genocide” from the main Bosniak cemetery in town. The action was originally scheduled for 24 December 2013 along with the demolition of a rebuilt house a few hundred yards down the road from the cemetery on Pionirska Street.

The house was a scene of one of the most horrific crimes of the war, it has been since rebuilt and stands as a memorial to those killed in the Pionirska Street Live–Pyre. The action to remove the word “genocide” and demolish the house was then stopped by the survivors who confronted the local authorities, however on 23d of January this year the word was removed, and the fate of the memorial on Pionirska Street is still uncertain.  Several media outlets both in Bosnia and around the world ran the story, including International Business Times.

Writer Predrag Blagovcanin was one of those pointed out that what is going on in eastern Bosnia and Visegrad is simply a continuation  by other means of the politics carried out by Radovan Karadzic during the 1992-95.

This article first appeared on Bosnian portal Tacno.net 23/01/2014

We already know that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country of absurdities, in which we on a daily basis are forced to witness an orgy in fascism stipulated by law, but today we also learned that we live in country in which a 100 members of the special police can rearrange inscriptions on memorials dedicated to murdered civilians

By Predrag Blagovcanin

Early this morning at around 7 o´clock municipal workers and members of the Inspection Unit of the municipality of Visegrad toghter with around 100 members of the ministry of the interior RS in an action probably named “Erasing for a better tomorrow” chiseled away the word “genocide” from a memorial dedicated to murdered Bosniak civilians from the Visegrad area during the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina. The initiative for the removal of the word genocide from the memoarial dedicated to the murdered civilians from the Visegrad area came SDS-deputy Miroslav Kojic who in the People’s Assembly of Republika Srpska requested that Bosnian entity do everything in order to prevent the spreading of “lies and untruths” about the character of the war in the town of Visegrad.

Just what “lies and untruths” is Kojic talking about?

Miroslav Kojic, the SDS deputy, from the same party as convicted war criminals Momcilo Krajisnik and Biljana Plavsic and soon to be joined by Radovan Karadzic, obviously is not familiar with the historic facts about the events that took place in Visegrad during the war. The SDS-deputy is either not familiar with or does wish to acknowledge the fact that according to RDC (Research and Documentation Centre) 1760 civilians from the Visegrad area were killed, of those over a 100 were children. He´s also not interested in the fact that according to the International War crimes Tribunal (ICTY) Visegrad was a scene of some of the worst “ethnic cleansing” during the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina and he does not seem to remember that on 14th of June 1992 70 people were barricaded into a house on Pionirska Street and burnt alive.

However for Miroslav Kojic the SDS-deputy and Slavisa Miskovic the current mayor of Visegrad, a town in which prior to the war 63 % of the population was Bosniak in accordance with their own views on historical events in this municipality those facts are not important. That´s why it was decided by the local branch of the SDS that the word genocide would be erased from all memorials and the house of Sumbula Zeba (On Pionirska Street) in which 70 civilians were burnt alive on June 14th 1992 is to be demolished in order to make way for an intersection. So Miroslav Kojic´s and his party colleague Miskovic´s own vision of a new Visegrad which they intend to build so that it´s even more beautiful and older and more ethnically pure the Andric´s is disturbed by memorials to Bosniak civilians, especially bothersome is the disgusting word genocide which thanks to a set of circumstances is constantly haunting them.

They are however not bothered by the statue to the unknown Serb soldier on Visegrad´s main square or a memorial to Russian volunteers and mercenaries’. Of course these two SDS visionaries in their efforts to rewrite history the way it suits them don´t see anything controversial about the traditional event glorifying the Ravna Gora Chetnik movement, and they are especially proud by the relocation of the monument of Draza Mihajlovic from Brcko to a called place Undrulje which is going to be renamed Little Drazevina (Mala Draževina) in honor of the convicted war criminal.

In the vision of this SDS tandem, generations and generations will be laying flowers next to the newly built two-meter statue of Ratko Mladic. While under the patronage of the municipality in and in honor of Radovan Karadzic a festival called “The leading voice of the Chetnik song” will be organized. Unfortunately today´s removal of the word genocide from the memorial dedicated to Bosniak civilians on Straziste cemetery, under the absolute patronage of the authorities in RS is just one more proof that the politics of ethnic cleansing by this which this entity was created. And because of which so many people lost their lives, has still not been stopped. Indeed it is being carried out with the same intensity as before, only the methods have changed, and those are no less dangerous.

As our wise people would say; the principal is the same all the rest are different shades.

Nu syns spåren av EU:s eftergiftspolitik

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Den här artikeln publicerades på Västerbotten-kurirens hemsida, 18 juli 2013 som mitt svar till Birgitta Ohlssons debattartikel den 11 juli i samband med minneshögtiden för folkmordet i Srebrenica.

Den 11 juli, på årsdagen av folkmordet i Srebrenica, skrev Birgitta Ohlsson en debattartikel i VK om Srebrenica. Tyvärr så ägnades inte många rader åt själva folkmordet, offren, konsekvenserna av kriget och folkmordet samt det som ledde fram till själva folkmordet, tyvärr så användes debattartikeln för att visa att EU måste samarbeta mer.

När man pratar om folkmordet i Srebrenica så kan man inte komma ifrån att det som ledde till folkmordet i Srebrenica var just politik som fördes av EU, samt då Storbritannien men främst Carl Bildt som EU:s speciella sändebud till forna Jugoslavien såg till att genomdriva vad som kan nu i efterhand bara kallas för en eftergiftspolitik som ledde till folkmord.

Fortsätt läsa mer på Västerbotten-Kurirens hemsida