I remember that as children, when we would quarrel, we would sing a song: “Mir, mir, nikonijekriv, ava, avasudija je karava.”, which when is translated on English goes like this: „Peace , peace, no one to blame. Judge is guilty for everything.“ Today, this song peoples of the former Yugoslavia,cannot sing, after all that happened in the nineties. They did not quarrel because of footballor a girl. They are quarreled because of wars, civil and international, crimes, war and those against humanity and genocide in the end. Today, several years after the end of the wars in Yugoslavia reconciliation can only be accomplished through the restoration of trust. There are three trustpillars: justice, truth and memory.
„There is no peace without justice“, are words of Martin Luther King. Demand and search for justice is the dominant feeling in the societies of the Western Balkans. We all have to promise ourselves that we will hunt war criminals to the last at large. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is the most responsible forsatisfaction or dissatisfaction in process of war crimes prosecutions. It is historical role of the Bosnian and Croatian Prosecutor’s Office and War crimes prosecution of Serbia in confronting with the past.
In order to efficiently prosecute war crimes is essential cooperation between prosecutors.
Cooperation is essential in addition to a simple reason. The greatest number of criminals, thinking that they were fleeing from hand of justice, left a state in which they committed war crimes and went to the neighboring. As in most of casesthey have dual citizenship, today they areunattainable for the prosecution thatis waging investigation or have already brought charges. Criminal justice brings us the judicial truth. It givesnames to villains and victims. By court verdicts responsibility for the crime is individualized and it ends the stories about collective responsibility of a nation for the crime that was committed in their name.
Citizens of the former Yugoslav republics should require the regular updates through public and private media on war crimes trials. Overall public should support the work of the courts and prosecutors in cases of war crimes. It is essential that people understand the importance to bring to justice war criminals. It is because criminal todaylive in our neighborhoods, and they are our neighbors. I’m sure nobody would want to live with murderers, thieves and rapist. It is my personal whish that prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, first prosecute members of Bosnian army that committed war crimes, as they did not to emigrate to Croatia or Serbia, they stayed with me in my neighborhood.
European integration is aimed at strengthening the independence of the judicial system and makingit notamenable to political influence. One of the most important achievements of European integrationis atmosphere in which politicians do notissue orders to the prosecution, who to prosecute and who not to. If for anything, then because of this our society needs to support integration to the European Union.
The second pillar of trust is true. Ancient Romans once said:“Veritasvoslibertatis.”I am sure that truth is meeting point of all of us and that it is something that gathers us all. Professor GoranSimic, in his book „The trials for war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina„, lists four kinds of truths: the judicial truth, the truth of the victims, the truth of the official institutions established by the all kind of commissions and the institutes, and at the end of the academic truth.
Judicial truth is one which is determined in court “beyond reasonable doubt“by the independent andimpartial tribunal.
The second truth is the truth of the victims. The Court does not express an interest in life story ofvictims .It is only interested in the facts about whether, how, when, and where the crime was committed. This is true of those who suffered crime on their skin. This truth professor Simicdescribes as „the living“ truth. The public comes to this kind of truth by public speaking of victims.
That would be one of the main tasks of the Regional Commission for establishing facts about war crimes violations of human rights in the former Yugoslavia (RECOM). RECOM is a coalition of 1,500 non-governmental organizations aimed at creating a commission whose one of the tasks would be to convey the story of the victims, no matter how long it may be, detailed, difficult, and hard to listen.We cannotonly by judgment know how serious crime was, inhuman and monstrous. Only victims can tell us that. Therefore, each of us has a moral duty to support initiatives for RECOM. Regional Commission is required and to find out destiny of 15,000 people, how much is considered to be missing on territory of the former Yugoslavia. SpomenkaHribar, journalist from Slovenia, once said: „Until we bury and one other victims, or until wedo not stop discrimination of victims, there will be no peace.“Although I have not lost anyone in the war, or looking for the missing,I strongly support initiatives for RECOM. Initiative perhaps is not important for me, but it has big importance for is to future of our children.It’s way out of the world of lies and purification for sick societies. Commission is the path to long-term peace.
The third truth would be the one that on requestof various institutions was concluded by established commissions or institutes. One example of this kind of truth is a report on 7,000 pages of Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, that prepared it at the request of the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. After the document was published, on 16th April in 2002.,the Dutch government has resigned along with Army chief.
The fourth truth is the one that is written byhigh educated citizens, professors and academics. In one hand, these are publications that aim to create a culture of memory and prevention of forgetfulness.In second hand, it can be misused, and become “truth” of those who had written it to rewrote history, falsified it and to spreading lies. This is how people accept falsehood as truth. New generation is then feed by these lies. It is not the truth which heals the sick society. It is a venom that poisons society and instead of infusion that would cleanse patientit injects poison which turns patientinto a new monster.
The realization of this truth is contributed by books like“The Bosnian Book of the Dead“ of Research and Documentation Center Sarajevo and „Kosovo Memory Book“ of the Humanitarian Law. „The Bosnian Book of the Dead“ registered about 100,000 victims of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These kind of books prevent further manipulation of the victims, as well as it ends „racing and Olympics“ of casualties.
Building a culture of remembrance is the last pillar of trust.Forgetting victimsis like killing them for the second time. Reconciliation and forgiveness does not mean forgetting. By forgetting we do not learn the necessary lessons from the past, and we write the same bloody future to our children. In forgetting formula,everybody losses, except war criminals. Culture of memory consists of two elements: memory center building and commemoration.
It is essential role of youth in trust building. It is my hope that one day young people from all over the former Yugoslavia will together visit associative places of suffering of our peoples, put down red roses and light candles in memory of the innocent victims of evil. Surely this act would send a powerful message of reconciliation, the importance of dealing with the past and that it is time to, not by forgetting the past, turn to better, European future of our nations.
Reconciliation is one process that is ongoing and will last for years. People are not machines that can be ordered to reconcile and than they do so. The reconciliation process cannot be monopolized process. That process should not only include lawyers, sociologists, psychologists, but all members of society, of different professions, sex and age.
Finally, coexistence, trust and dialogue can be built only among peoples whose name is: antifascism.