Srebrenica: ubijanje memorije i traganje za istinom i pravdom!

Srebrenica: ubijanje memorije i traganje za istinom i pravdom![1]

David Pettigrew (Izlaganje na Krugu 99, 5.juna 2015.)

This paper addresses an orchestrated effort to prevent the free expression of cultural memory and identity by Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) and other non-Serbs within the territory of Republika Srpska. “Republika Srpska” declared itself to be an entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina on January 9, 1992. The declaration of Republika Srpska entailed a linguistic violence, since the self-designated “Serb Republic” incorporated an area that was multicultural and that was, in some areas, almost one hundred percent Bosniak. The founding of Republika Srpska was followed, tragically, by a concerted effort to eliminate any non-Serbs from within its territory. Radovan Karadžić, the founding President of Republika Srpska, is charged for example, with seeking to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian-Serb claimed territory in BiH.[2]

Given this stated goal, the Bosnian Serbs began to pursue a strategy of genocidal aggression, ranging from the murder and forcible displacement of civilians in Višegrad to the detention, torture and murder of civilians in Prijedor in concentration camps, and to the siege of civilian centers such as Sarajevo, Tuzla and Bihać, through murderous shelling and sniper fire. Republika Srpska was subsequently recognized and legitimized by the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995.[3]

In the wake of such heinous atrocities, it would seem that the survivors of the genocide should have the right to establish memorials and commemorations in order to remember and mourn the victims. In the years following the genocide, however, survivors have actually been prohibited from installing memorials to the victims in a number of locations within Republika Srpska.

In 1992, for example, with the beginning of the Bosnian Serb aggression in eastern Bosnia, atrocities occurred in the Municipality of Višegrad. These atrocities have been well documented and the perpetrators have been convicted, including upon appeal.[4] Many of the victims were murdered on the well-known Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge and then cast into the Drina River. The perpetrators thought the victims would never be found. However, in the summer of 2010, work on a nearby dam caused the river level to fall. The experts from the Bosnian Missing Persons Institute and the International Commission on Missing Persons knew that there would be a chance, perhaps a last chance, to exhume the victims of Višegrad from the riverbed. I was invited to accompany the government exhumation team.  I witnessed and documented the exhumations of the victims. In the months that followed, approximately 96 victims were exhumed, and about 60 victims were identified and buried in the Stražište cemetery, a private Muslim cemetery in Višegrad, in May 2012.

At the time of the burials, the survivors installed a memorial in the Stražište cemetery that bore an inscription in memory of the “victims of the Višegrad genocide.” However, immediately after the installation of the memorial, the Bosnian Serb authorities decided that the memorial should be demolished.  The local activists asked me to write a letter in support of the memorial. My letter, which was addressed to the High Representative, was released to the press and brought some public attention to the issue.[5] In the letter, I pointed out that although the authorities had called for the removal of the memorial in the private Muslim cemetery, the Bosnian Serb perpetrators of the atrocities in Višegrad had been memorialized with a statue in the middle of the town of Višegrad.  This seemed like a clear case of discrimination. Accordingly, in my letter I referred to Republika Srpska as an “apartheid entity.”[6]

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court identifies “apartheid” as inhumane acts “…committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial (or ethnic) group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”[7] The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, for its part, condemns “Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing … the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”[8] Hence, the term “apartheid” seemed particularly appropriate in this case, given the discriminatory nature of the prohibition of the memorial that was arbitrarily imposed by the Bosnian Serbs upon Bosniaks. The Bosnian Serbs’ demographic majority in Višegrad, and their ability to impose such prohibitions with impunity are a direct consequence of the genocide. Such discriminatory practices seem designed, moreover, to discourage Bosniaks–who were forcibly displaced by the genocide–from returning to Višegrad, precisely in the interest of maintaining the demographic majority and attendant political power of the Bosnian Serbs.[9] Further, the term “apartheid” seemed appropriate because the Municipality’s plan to destroy the memorial clearly infringed on the right of Bosniaks to engage freely in cultural practices of mourning and memorialization.

In anticipation of the demolition of the memorial, I organized an international coalition to lay a wreath at the memorial in the Višegrad cemetery and released a public statement in an attempt to preserve the memorial. In the statement I asserted:

Today we condemn and we resist the culture of genocide denial in Višegrad and in Republika Srpska by laying our wreath at the memorial in the Stražište cemetery. Our wreath reads: “To the Memory of the Victims of the Višegrad Genocide: May Truth Lead to Justice.” We would also like to recognize and honor the citizens and activists who created this memorial in the cemetery in order to tell the truth about the genocide. These citizens and activists have inspired us because they have kept their hearts open to the hope that the truth will lead to justice. We thank them for their courage. By our presence we stand with them and we affirm the right of all refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes without risk of intimidation, persecution or discrimination.[10]

Nonetheless, in January of the following year, 2014, the local authorities forcibly entered the cemetery, breaking the lock on the gate, and callously ground the word “genocide” from the memorial.  The memorial was not destroyed but the word “genocide” was removed.

The suppression of the word “genocide” and the prohibition of memorials is not unique to Višegrad.  In Prijedor Municipality, survivors and activists have been forbidden from installing a memorial and from using the word “genocide” in public gatherings. Prijedor is the Municipality in which Vojislav Šešelj stated, in the Spring of 1992 that Serbs were “foolish” to “live with non-Serbs.”[11] Šešelj’s visit to Prijedor was just one part of an orchestrated campaign to turn Serbs against non-Serbs. Elizabeth Neuffer writes that in March 1992, “the only news available was inflammatory, anti-Muslim, anti-Croat diatribes out of Belgrade… The not so subtle message was that the Serbs were to join together and arm themselves because the Muslims were going to attack…”[12] In May 1992, Bosnian Muslims were forced to wear white armbands so that they could be identified for deportation to concentration camps in the Municipality.  The camps included Omarska, Trnopolje, Keraterm, and others. Over 3,000 civilians perished in the camps and others perished in the deportations and executions of civilians from surrounding villages.

The abovementioned camps were all located within what is now the territory of Republika Srpska. In October 2013, the largest mass grave–in terms of square meters and depth–was found in Prijedor Municipality in a locality known as Tomašica.  Those initially exhumed from the mass grave were buried in July 2014 in the town of Kozarac, which is also located in Prijedor Municipality. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared a day of mourning to honor the victims, but Republika Srpska did not. Each year survivors hold commemorative memorials in May to remember the white armbands, the atrocities, and the victims. Although they have been prohibited from using the word genocide at the gathering, one year the survivors and activists arranged children’s backpacks to spell out the word “genocide” in the town square. In 2014, parents brought a petition seeking the right to install a memorial in memory of 102 children who were killed. The site of the former Omarska concentration camp is located on the grounds of the ArcelorMittal mining complex.  Survivors are permitted to gather there to mourn the victims only one day each year, on August 6.[13]  In the absence of a memorial, the survivors themselves are the memorial–an embodied memorial–as they gather and release white balloons into the sky. The names of the victims are attached to the balloons.

As in the case of Višegrad, efforts to remember the victims in Prijedor have been subject to a discriminatory policy. While survivors have been prohibited from installing a memorial at Omarksa, for example, the Bosnian Serbs have installed a memorial near the Trnopolje concentration camp.  The memorial commemorates the “soldiers who embedded their lives in the foundations of Republika Srpska.”  One wonders how the perpetrators of a genocide justify the suppression of memorials to the victims but permit memorials for those who committed the atrocities. One explanation is that Republika Srpska has recast the narrative, rewritten history, and has actually created a law permitting memorials for prominent members of the military who perished between 1992-1995. The law allows for memorials commemorating “the War of Liberation.”[14]

In this context, in May 2014, we learned that a commemorative plaque honoring Ratko Mladic had been installed in Republika Srpska in the hills above Sarajevo. The plaque was installed on Vraca Hill, along the side of the Memorial Park for those who perished in World War II due to Nazi aggression. Vraca Hill was precisely the high ground seized by the Bosnian Serbs at the outset of the siege in April 1992.[15]  During my investigations, I learned that the plaque is located between a former tank position and a former sniper position, positions from which the citizens of Sarajevo were targeted.

Further, it should not escape our attention that this plaque glorifies an indicted war criminal who, as part of an “overarching joint criminal enterprise,” sought “to spread terror among the civilian population of Sarajevo through a campaign of sniping and shelling.”[16] A relevant International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Judgement states that,
Evidence on the record also indicates that other senior members of the Bosnian Serb leadership, alleged to have been members of the JCE [Joint Criminal Enterprise], possessed genocidal intent. For example, in discussing Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, Ratko Mladić, the Commander of the Army of the Republika Srpska Main Staff, is alleged to have said that ‘[m]y concern is to have them vanish completely’.[17]

 

Hence, the commemorative plaque honoring Mladić is a brutal provocation directed at all Bosniaks and non-Serbs, and, given its location, it is an insult to the memory of those who were the victims of the siege of Sarajevo, a siege that murdered over 11,500 persons, including hundreds of children.

However, this glorification of Ratko Mladić in East Sarajevo is not an isolated incident. On July 9, 2014, when 175 coffins containing the human remains of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide arrived in Potočari in preparation for the commemorative burials on July 11, a statement was released by Milorad Dodik, the President of Republika Srpska, in which he denied the ruling of genocide for Srebrenica, declared that Mladić and Karadžić were leaders in the Serb fight for freedom, and insisted that the Serbian people would continue to honor them in the years ahead.[18]

This memorial to Mladić should not be understood simply as part of a Bosnian Serb  “counter narrative,” as though the memorials represent “one side,” while the other side (or sides) have their own narratives. To suggest that there are two or three equivalent narratives is reminiscent of the assessments during the genocide that there were two or three warring sides whose violent acts were morally equivalent. Such an assessment was morally repugnant because it was a betrayal of the truth, and because it contributed to the policy of nonintervention and inaction on the part of the international community, inaction that led finally to the genocide in Srebrenica.

Far from a counter narrative, we can think of this phenomenon as a human rights violation. In addition to The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid mentioned earlier, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, Part I, Article I (1), states that “the term ‘racial discrimination’ shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on … ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, … exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”[19] In other words, it is evident that international human rights law provides the right to participation in cultural life of the community, free of suppression of that free expression and free of the discriminatory practices in relation to that right. Thus, far from being a clever “counter narrative,” such acts of suppression and discrimination are violations of international humanitarian law.

In addition to being a violation of human rights, the plaque glorifying Ratko Mladić, the statue in the center of Višegrad, and the memorial to the perpetrators near Trnopolje concentration camp, can be understood, most significantly, as nothing less than a continuation of the genocide that was perpetrated from 1992 to 1995.  Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term “genocide,” wrote that genocide has two phases: “one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor.”[20] The commemorative plaque in honor of Ratko Mladić is just such an imposition involving the public glorification of a man who was responsible for so much suffering, an imposition with no concern for the feelings of the survivors, no shame, and no sense of human decency. The same could be said of the statue in Višegrad, which was erected to the “brave defenders of Republika Srpska.” The imposition of the national pattern of the genocidal oppressor, through such memorials, assumes that the first phase of genocide has been successfully accomplished. In other words, it assumes that the multicultural world that existed in the past no longer exists, and assumes further that the ultranationalist cultural narrative of the Bosnian Serbs can now be imposed on the terrain with impunity, thereby continuing to actively negate the world that once was.[21]

Perhaps nowhere is the impulse to impose a separatist culture of genocide denial more obvious than in Višegrad where, having removed the word “genocide” from the memorial, the local authorities are seeking to raze the Pionirska Street house where approximately 60 women, children, and elderly persons were burned alive.  They seek to destroy the building in order to erase the traces of the heinous crimes, to recast the landscape and to rewrite history in order to say that it never happened. The authorities in Republika Srpska have, nonetheless, 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 to 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.”

The appeals to prevent the destruction of the house continue, 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 and in order to respect and honor the memory of the victims of the crime, one of two crimes that the ICTY Judgement 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.”[22] The question now, is whether the international community will find the resolve to support Mrs. Hasečić and to save the Pionirska Street house from demolition.[23]

The current plan to destroy any traces of the Pionirska Street house is sadly reminiscent of the destruction of the two houses in Višegrad in 1992 in which civilians–women, children, and elderly persons– were burned alive, and where one house (in Bikavac), was already completely destroyed at that time, leaving almost no traces. Indeed, in the ICTY Judgement for Milan Lukić and Sredoje Lukić just cited, the Court emphatically condemned the efforts of the perpetrators to obliterate the traces of the victims and thus of the crimes:

In the all too long, sad and wretched history of man’s inhumanity to man, the Pionirska street [June 14, 1992] and Bikavac fires [June 27, 1992] must rank high…. By burning the victims and the houses in which they were trapped, Milan Lukić and the other perpetrators intended to obliterate the identities of their victims and, in so doing, to strip them of their humanity. The families of victims could not identify or bury their loved ones. … There is a unique cruelty in expunging all traces of the individual victims which must heighten the gravity ascribed to these crimes.[24]

The perpetrators carried out such atrocities to be certain that Republika Srpska would be ethnically homogeneous. Through acts of murder, and the destruction of homes and mosques, the perpetrators did everything they could to insure that the world that once existed had been destroyed. Vojislav Šešelj was charged, among other crimes, with the “deliberate destruction of homes… cultural institutions, historic monuments and sacred sites.”[25] 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 our time, of the genocide that occurred between 1992-1995. The destruction of the Pionirska Street house will re-enact the Army of Republika Srpska’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. Klotjevac is such a village that was ninety-seven percent destroyed.[26] Only a few families have been able to return to live in the village.  Now, approximately two decades after the genocide, the leadership in Republika Srpska is doing everything in their power to be certain that the world that was destroyed will not be restored.

Hence I have identified the suppression of memorials to the victims of the genocide in Republika Srpska as a violation of International Humans Rights. What is the meaning of such a human right, if the right to freely participate in the cultural life of one’s community does not signify or include the right to engage in cultural practices of mourning and memorialization for those who were murdered in acts that have been ruled as a crime against humanity or as genocide under international law?  Further, I have identified the discriminatory imposition of memorials to the perpetrators as a continuation of the genocide in the context of Raphael Lemkin’s description of the second phase of genocide. The apparent failure of the Office of the High Representative in Sarajevo, and of the international community, to respond to the provocations, human rights violations, and the continuation of the genocide in Republika Srpska is a matter of great concern. Will the international community join me in crossing that “red tape” imposed by the Višegrad police, a “red line” that represents, if you will, the prohibition of memorials, genocide denial, hate speech, discriminatory practices against non-Serb survivors and returnees, psychological intimidation and dehumanizing exclusion?  The “red line” is not only a prohibition of memorials but a prohibition against the restoration of the world that once was, the very world that the perpetrators tried to erase: the “red tape” places a final seal on that erasure.  What is at stake for humanity in crossing and defying the “red line,” in solemn remembrance of the victims, and in solidarity with the survivors, is the possibility of a re-opening of the world that was destroyed. The right to such an opening or restoration of the world for the survivors, through the cultural practices of mourning, memorialization, and remembrance, would be a matter of justice.[27]  The survivors of the genocide in Bosnia have kept their hearts open to the hope that the truth will lead to justice. The question, finally, is whether the international community will honor that hope.

In my opening remarks I made reference to the various “resolutions” being offered by Great Britain, the United States House of Representatives and by Russia. These represent, in their reference or non-reference to Srebrenica and genocide, a struggle for memory and truth. Rather than resist each human rights violation, whether in Trnopolje or Višegrad, one by one, let us resolve, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide, to reunify Bosnia, through constitutional reform, as a multicultural nation under one set of laws that would prohibit, not memorials, but hate speech, genocide denial, and the glorification of war criminals, and also prohibit and prevent discrimination and intimidation against Bosniaks and nonSerbs who seek to return to their former homes. Let us respond to the politics of denial, division, and exclusion, with a discourse of recognition, unity, and inclusion. We need leaders and representatives who are willing and able to accept the truth and share the values of democracy, cultural diversity, the rule of law, and the protection of human rights.  May the High Representative, and the international community, take all necessary steps to insure this goal.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

Burns, John F.: “Serbian Guns Resume Heavy Shelling of Sarajevo,” New York Times, October 6, 1992, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014].
http://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/06/world/serbian-guns-resume-heavy-shelling-of-sarajevo.html

 

The Dayton Peace Accords, General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 14, 1995. [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.ohr.int/dpa/default.asp?content_id=379

 

HALILOVICH, Hariz: Places of Pain: Forced Displacement, Popular Memory and Trans-Local Identities in Bosnian War-Torn Communities. New York, Berghahn 2013.

 

Hodzic, Refik: “Shadow of London ‘Orbit’ in Bosnia: Steel, Blood, and the Suppression of Memory,” [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.ictj.org/news/shadow-london-“orbit”-bosnia-steel-blood-and-suppression-memory

 

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965
entry into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014].  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CERD.aspx

 

International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, Article II (c), [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/apartheid-supp.html

 

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Judgement Summary, Karadžić (IT-9S-SI18-AR98bis.l), Appeals Chamber, July 11, 2013, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.icty.org/x/cases/karadzic/acjug/en/130711_judgement_summary_rule98bis.pdf

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Judgement, Milan Lukić & Sredoje Lukić (IT-98-32/1-T) “Višegrad”, Trial Chamber III, §740 and §1062, July 20, 2009,  [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.icty.org/x/cases/milan_lukic_sredoje_lukic/tjug/en/090720_j.pdf

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Appeals Judgement Summary for Milan Lukić and Sredoje Lukić  (IT-98-32/1-A), Appeals Chamber, December 4, 2012, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.icty.org/x/cases/milan_lukic_sredoje_lukic/acjug/en/121204_summary.pdf

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Fourth Amended Indictment, Mladić (IT-09-92-PT), Trial Chamber I, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.icty.org/x/cases/mladic/ind/en/111216.pdf

 

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, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.icty.org/x/cases/seselj/tord/en/141106.pdf

LEMKIN, Raphael: Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation – Analysis of Government – Proposals for Redress. Washington, D.C., Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 1944.

“Monument to Gavrilo Princip unveiled in East Sarajevo,” June 27, 2014, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region.php?yyyy=2014&mm=06&dd=27&nav_id=90812

NANCY, Jean-Luc: The Creation of the World or Globalization. New York, State University of New York Press 2007.

NEUFFER, Elizabeth: The Key to My Neighbor’s House: Seeking Justice in Bosnia and Rwanda. New York, Picador 2001.

 

OHR mirno posmatra: Dodik najavio priznanje za Karadžića i Mladića, ponovo negira genocidi BiH, ” www.klix.ba, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.klix.ba/vijesti/ohr-mirno-posm-dodik-najavio-priznanje-za-karadzica-i-mladica-ponovo-negira-genocid-i-bih/140710004

 

PETTIGREW, David, “Letter to High Representative Valentin Inzko,” March 3, 2013, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.klix.ba/vijesti/bih/pettigrew-rusenje-spomenika-u-strazistu-znacilo-bi-da-u-rs-u-vlada-apartheid/130304086

 

PETTIGREW, David: “Statement for Višegrad Stražište Cemetery, To the Memory of the Victims of the Višegrad Genocide: May Truth Lead to Justice,” July 16, 2013, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.helsinki.org.rs/index_archiva_t51.html

 

Remikovic, Drazen: “New church in Srebrenica raises heat between Serbs, Bosniaks”. SETimes.com, January 5, 2013, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/features/2013/05/01/feature-02

 

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Part 2 Article 7, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014].

http://untreaty.un.org/cod/icc/statute/romefra.htm

 

 

Notes

 

 

 

[1] My thanks to Eric Cavallero, Smail Čekić, Hariz Halilovich, Refik Hodžić, Hikmet Karčić, Sheila Magnotti, Emir Ramić, Velma Sarić, Sanja Seferović-Drnovšek, Markéta Slavková, and finally, Bakira Hasečić, for their help with my research and in the preparation of this essay.

 

[2] International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Judgement Summary, Karadžić (IT-9S-SI18-AR98bis.l), Appeals Chamber, July 11, 2013, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.icty.org/x/cases/karadzic/acjug/en/130711_judgement_summary_rule98bis.pdf. “BiH” is an abbreviation for “Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

 

[3] Article III of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, names “Republika Srpska” as one of the “Parties” to the Dayton agreement, and refers to it as an “Entity” with a “boundary demarcation.”  The Dayton Peace Accords, General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 14, 1995. [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.ohr.int/dpa/default.asp?content_id=379. The official agreement to the “Inter-Entity Boundary Line” between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and “Republika Srpska,” as such, is addressed in Article I: “Inter-Entity Boundary Line,” of Annex 2: Agreement on Inter-Entity Boundary Line and Related Issues. [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014].  http://www.ohr.int/dpa/default.asp?content_id=370

[4] International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Appeals Judgement Summary for Milan Lukić and Sredoje Lukić  (IT-98-32/1-A), Appeals Chamber, December 4, 2012, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.icty.org/x/cases/milan_lukic_sredoje_lukic/acjug/en/121204_summary.pdf

[5] PETTIGREW, David, “Letter to High Representative Valentin Inzko,” March 3, 2013, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014].

http://www.klix.ba/vijesti/bih/pettigrew-rusenje-spomenika-u-strazistu-znacilo-bi-da-u-rs-u-vlada-apartheid/130304086.  The letter was endorsed by a number of academics and activists, including Hariz Halilovich, Emir Ramić and Sanja Seferović-Drnovšek. See the “OHR Introduction”: “The Office of the High Representative (OHR) is an ad hoc international institution responsible for overseeing implementation of civilian aspects of the Peace Agreement ending the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The position of High Representative was created under the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, usually referred to as the Dayton Peace Agreement, that was negotiated in Dayton, Ohio, and signed in Paris on 14 December 1995. The High Representative is working with the people and institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the international community to ensure that Bosnia and Herzegovina evolves into a peaceful and viable democracy on course for integration in Euro-Atlantic institutions.” [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014].

http://www.ohr.int/ohr-info/gen-info/default.asp?content_id=38519

 

[6] “…the Municipality’s plan to destroy the memorial is consistent with the genocide denial that is endemic to the political culture of Republika Srpska. In addition, the removal of the memorial is discriminatory, as well as a form of persecution that is a crime against humanity.  Such a wanton act of desecration would only serve to confirm that the entity of Republika Srpska has become an apartheid entity. PETTIGREW.” David: “Letter to High Representative Valentin Inzko,” March 3, 2013, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014].

http://www.klix.ba/vijesti/bih/pettigrew-rusenje-spomenika-u-strazistu-znacilo-bi-da-u-rs-u-vlada-apartheid/130304086

 

[7] Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Part 2 Article 7, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014].

http://untreaty.un.org/cod/icc/statute/romefra.htm

 

[8] International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, Article II (c), [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/apartheid-supp.html, (my emphasis).

 

[9] Such an effort to prevent refugee return would be in violation of the Dayton Peace Agreement. The Dayton Peace Agreement asserts that “All refugees and displaced persons have the right freely to return to their homes of origin…. without risk of …intimidation, persecution, or discrimination, particularly on account of their ethnic origin.” The Dayton Peace Agreement Annex 7: Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons, Chapter One: Protection, Article I, Rights of Refugees and Displaced Persons, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014].

http://www.ohr.int/dpa/default.asp?content_id=375

 

[10] PETTIGREW, David: “Statement for Višegrad Stražište Cemetery, To the Memory of the Victims of the Višegrad Genocide: May Truth Lead to Justice,” July 16, 2013, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.helsinki.org.rs/index_archiva_t51.html

[11] NEUFFER, Elizabeth: The Key to My Neighbor’s House: Seeking Justice in Bosnia and Rwanda. New York, Picador 2001, p. 34.

 

[12] NEUFFER, Elizabeth: The Key to My Neighbor’s House: Seeking Justice in Bosnia and Rwanda. New York, Picador 2001, p. 34.

 

[13] August 6 is the day that marks the closing of the Omarska concentration camp in 1992. It is the one day each year that survivors are permitted to enter the mining complex to mourn the victims. See Hodzic, Refik: “Shadow of London ‘Orbit’ in Bosnia: Steel, Blood, and the Suppression of Memory,”

[Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.ictj.org/news/shadow-london-“orbit”-bosnia-steel-blood-and-suppression-memory

 

[14] Personal meeting with Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Legal Team, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, March 17, 2014,

 

[15] It bears mentioning that, in April 1992, the Bosnian Serbs seized the Vraca Police Academy and secured Grbavica, below the hill, for what was perhaps their most dramatic strategic incursion into Sarajevo during the siege. This is precisely what John Burns called, in an October 6, 1992, New York Times article, “a principle Serbian salient into the city.” John F. Burns, “Serbian Guns Resume Heavy Shelling of Sarajevo,” New York Times, October 6, 1992, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014].
http://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/06/world/serbian-guns-resume-heavy-shelling-of-sarajevo.html

 

[16] International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Fourth Amended Indictment, Mladić (IT-09-92-PT), Trial Chamber I, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.icty.org/x/cases/mladic/ind/en/111216.pdf

 

[17] International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Fourth Amended Indictment, Mladić (IT-09-92-PT), Trial Chamber I, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.icty.org/x/cases/mladic/ind/en/111216.pdf

 

[18]OHR mirno posmatra: Dodik najavio priznanje za Karadžića i Mladića, ponovo negira genocidi BiH,”

www.klix.ba, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.klix.ba/vijesti/ohr-mirno-posm-dodik-najavio-priznanje-za-karadzica-i-mladica-ponovo-negira-genocid-i-bih/140710004  Perhaps the commemorative plaque for Mladić takes its place in a tradition that includes the glorification of Gavrilo Princip who, in the opinion of the Bosnian Serbs, was a freedom fighter and hero. A park and statue honoring Princip was dedicated recently, also in East Sarajevo. In a news article in b92 news portal, we read: “The statue was unveiled by Serb member of Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency Nebojša Radmanović, Bosnia’s Serb entity, RS, President Milorad Dodik, and the mayor of East New Sarajevo, Ljubisa Ćosić. ‘Gavrilo Princip’s shot was a shot for freedom. His shot was a prelude to what some Europeans were preparing for years, and Serbs emerged from that war as winners,’ Radmanović said during the ceremony on Friday… Addressing the ceremony … Mayor Ćosić said that Princip was ‘a hero of the Serb people’.” “Monument to Gavrilo Princip unveiled in East Sarajevo,” June 27, 2014, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region.php?yyyy=2014&mm=06&dd=27&nav_id=90812

 

[19] International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965
entry into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014].  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CERD.aspx

 

[20] LEMKIN, Raphael: Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation – Analysis of Government – Proposals for Redress. Washington, D.C., Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 1944, p. 79.

 

[21] Further, “the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor,” to follow Lemkin’s expression, is not limited to memorials.  Another example of the imposition of such an exclusionary cultural pattern–a negation of the world that once was–involves the construction of Serb orthodox Churches in Bosniak villages in Republika Srpska. A Church has been constructed in Budak, for example, a village of Bosniak returnees within Srebrenica Municipality, next to a secondary mass grave that has been exhumed, on the route of the annual peace march, and situated in such a way that the steeple looms in the distance over the Potočari Memorial Cemetery. Remikovic, Drazen: “New church in Srebrenica raises heat between Serbs, Bosniaks”. SETimes.com, January 5, 2013, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014].

http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/features/2013/05/01/feature-02

[22] International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Judgement, Milan Lukić & Sredoje Lukić (IT-98-32/1-T) “Višegrad”, Trial Chamber III, §740, July 20, 2009,  [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.icty.org/x/cases/milan_lukic_sredoje_lukic/tjug/en/090720_j.pdf

[23] Vojislav Šešelj was released from his detention at the Hague for “compelling humanitarian reasons,” on November 12, 2014. 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, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.icty.org/x/cases/seselj/tord/en/141106.pdf

[24] International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Judgement, Milan Lukić & Sredoje Lukić (IT-98-32/1-T) “Višegrad”, Trial Chamber III, §740 and §1062, July 20, 2009, (my emphasis), [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014]. http://www.icty.org/x/cases/milan_lukic_sredoje_lukic/tjug/en/090720_j.pdf

[25] International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Third Amended Indictment, Šešelj  (IT-03-67-T), §17 j, December 7, 2007, [Online] [cit. 12.15.2014].
http://www.icty.org/x/cases/seselj/ind/en/seslj3rdind071207e.pdf

 

[26] Over the course of pages 21-52 of his book, Places of Pain: Forced Displacement, Popular Memory and Trans-Local Identities in Bosnian War-Torn Communities. New York, Berghahn 2013, Hariz Halilovich details the “annihilation” of the community of Klotjevac and addresses the many challenges to memory, memorialization, and collective identity in the wake of the genocide and the forcible displacement of the population of Klotjevac, whose survivors have been displaced to the U.S., Australia, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Germany, Croatia, the Netherlands and elsewhere.

 

[27] The discussion herein of the opening or restoration of a world as a matter of justice is inspired by Jean-Luc Nancy’s The Creation of the World or Globalization. Translated by François Raffoul and David Pettigrew. New York, State University of New York Press, 2007.  On pages 54-55, Nancy writes that “To create a world means: immediately, without delay, reopening each possible struggle for a world…” That struggle against “injustice” involves the “insatiable and infinitely finite exercise that is the being in act of meaning brought forth in the world [mis au monde].” Thus the memorialization of the victims of a genocide re-opens, in a sense, a world that the perpetrators of that genocide tried to erase. In that act of memorialization, which is a fundamental human right, the struggle for the restoration of a world that was destroyed defies the dehumanizing erasure that occurred and resists genocide denial, thereby seeking to open a discursive space for truth and justice.

 

 

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