The initiative to increase US engagement in Bosnia comes at a decisive moment, as there are open threats to the country’s peace, which also endangers stability in Europe, former member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, Haris Silajdzic, told the local 'Radiosarajevo' news portal.
Silajdzic commented on the US Congress approved National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year of 2019, which includes a section calling for increased US “military-to-military cooperation and engagements” in Bosnia and the Western Balkans region.
The White House had no objections to the proposals concerning Bosnia, and a House of Representatives vote is expected soon.
The developments took place only weeks after Silajdzic participated at a Gala dinner organised by the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he said that democracy must be “smuggled” into Bosnia, due to the political system in place in the country.
“The initiative by the US Congress, which aims to increase US engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans, comes at a decisive moment. There is an open reaffirmation of wartime goals, but now with the use of other methods,” Silajdzic said, adding that this poses a danger to peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the stability of Europe as a whole.
When the Dayton Peace Agreement was drafted, it was well known, but never officially adjudicated, that an aggression and a planned genocide was committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Silajdzic said.
“The Hague Tribunal (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) determined the nature of these events. It was an international conflict, not a civil war. However, even after those verdicts, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be trapped within this inhumane project,” he said.
“War criminals are sentenced while their project continues to live on in its full capacity, enjoying a status of invincibility,” the former Foreign Minister and Prime Minister said.
All of this is happening “against the will of the citizens,” he added.
“Expressing their democratic will is thwarted by a system created on the basis of genocide and on concentration camps, the destruction of a culture and ethnic cleansing, essentially in a manner characteristic for fascism,” Silajdzic said.
He called the situation Bosnia's citizens are in “sick” and said that it should not be left to time to resolve it.
“With time war crimes can become part of the system of values of the civilized world, and even a source of justice,” he said.
Genocide must not become the civic standard, as this is exactly what those who want to repeat it want, he said.
“This is why the US Congress initiative is extraordinarily important and it offers hope that the international community will strengthen its presence so a solution can be brought in line with basic values and norms,” he said.
Silajdzic advocated for the first move in this process to be the implementation of verdicts by the European Court for Human Rights and Bosnia's Constitutional Court, “which have been ignored for far too long.”
“International conventions exist to be implemented, such as the Vienna Convention from 1969, which clearly defines a position towards all contracts and treaties signed under coercive circumstances,” Silajdzic told Radiosarajevo.