Universal principles and Bosnian reality

Krug 99 (Circle 99) Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Summary of the session 17.03.2024.-54
Universal principles and Bosnian reality

            All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, states Article 1 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This resolution is recognized as having inspired, and paved the way for, the adoption international human rights treaty, applied today on a permanent basis at global and regional levels – the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms with all its Protocols. As such, the Convention is an integral part of the Constitution of BiH, and it was ratified in 1997. The Convention established the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (Art. 19). The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties. The responsibility for the application of the Convention, along with the Court, is shared by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which is responsible for monitoring the execution of judgments of the European Court. In the case of persistent and consistent refusal to enforce judgments, the Committee of Ministers can resort to a radical proposal, as a last resort, which is the exclusion of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Council of Europe!           Therefore, from a legal point of view, there is not and should not be any obstacle in the implementation of all judgments from the “Sejdić-Finci” case law. In July of this year, it will be 10 years since the verdict in the case “Zornić vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina”. For all these 10 years, the ethno-national chauvinists have prevented any attempt to implement these judgments through their political activities, or better said, by abusing their political power with the wholehearted help of their neighbors from Croatia and Serbia, who pretend to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH.
          Even Christian Schmidt, in the role of high representative responsible for the civilian aspect of the Dayton Peace Agreement, abuses his position and, on Plenković's order, obstructs every attempt to implement the judgments. He does not even try to hide his servile attitude towards the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, in fact, on the OHR website and in the media, he boasts of his servile attitude towards Plenković and Vučić. Has the time come to appoint a new high representative who will perform this duty in full capacity for the benefit of BiH and all its citizens?
          All citizens of BiH, just like citizens of any European country, deserve the right to a Bosnian national identity without ethnic or any other affiliation, because it is a personal and private choice of every individual of our homeland.
          All spins about BiH's progress on the way to full membership in the EU are aimed at the pre- election campaign of both MEPs in June this year and local politicians who are preparing in this way for the October municipal elections.
          Although the announcement of the recommendation for the opening of EU accession negotiations is to be welcomed, Bosnia and Herzegovina's accession to the EU should be addressed and expedited as a matter of restorative justice in order to “repair the harm,” or “right the wrong” that has been done to Bosnia., as a victim of war crimes initiated by Joint Criminal Enterprises led by principles in both Serbia and Croatia. These Joint Criminal Enterprises sought geographic territory, whether “Greater Serbia” or “Herceg Bosna” as part of eliminationist enterprises not unlike the National Socialist ideology of lebsensraum that justified territorial conquest and the elimination of the population. The international community should recognize its responsibility for failing to prevent the crimes originating in Belgrade and Zagreb.
          The announcement by President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen that “the Commission recommends to the Council to open accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina” pending “further steps” seems only to delay a process that should rather be treated with greater urgency.
          Article 1 of the existing Stabilization and Association Agreement refers to the goal of supporting “efforts of Bosnia and Herzegovina to strengthen democracy and the rule of law”. Yet while the ECHR judgements have indeed called for “democratic arrangements without delay,” Bosnia has not been supported in this regard.  The obvious concern related to Putin’s foreign policy goal to unify “brother peoples”, and Milorad Dodik’s strategic relation with Putin, is that the entity Republika Srpska could become another Donbas. Republika Srpska already serves as a front line of resistance to EU and NATO.  Therefore, the EU membership for Bosnia would finally provide full support—the full weight of Europe—for constitutional reforms and the restoration of the rule of law that has been lacking until now.
** The speakers at the session were members of Circle 99: Azra Zornić, appellant before the European Court of Human Rights and applicant of the criminal complaint against Dragan Čović, and David Pettigrew, professor of philosophy and Holocaust and genocide studies, USA
Adil Kulenović, president 
Association of Independent Intellectuals – Circle 99 (Bosnian: Krug 99), a leading Bosnian think-tank, was established in Sarajevo in 1993, in the midst of the Bosnian war (1992-1995), while the capital was under siege. Circle 99 provides a platform to bring together intellectuals of various professional and ethnic identities; university professors, members of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, artists, journalists, entrepreneurs, diplomats, and other prominent figures from Bosnia and from abroad. Multidisciplinary discussions and initiatives are held each Sunday throughout the academic year, in the form of regular sessions about politics, science, education, culture, economy, and other societal issues. The overall goal is to sensitize the public towards a democratic transformation, achieving and maintaining peace, and integration of modern Bosnia into the community of countries fostering liberal democracy. Circle 99 has been declared an organization of special significance for the city of Sarajevo.