Ex Bosnian Army commander: I never called for war

NEWS 15.07.2018 17:00
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Source: N1

Commenting the barrage of reactions to a statement he made during a book promotion, former Bosnian Army commander Naser Oric said he never called for war and that the US Embassy and Bosnia’s top international official, Valentin Inzko, should watch the tape with his speech.

Oric spoke during a promotion of a book about his eastern Bosnian enclave, where in 1995 more than 8,000 of his fellow citizens were systematically executed by Bosnian Serb forces. The massacre was defined by two international courts as an act of genocide.

“When they were telling me, I thought there will never be war… But, the next war will happen a bit earlier than we thought,” he said, quoting a post-war poem by Serbian nationalist writer many Bosniaks interpret as a new threat against them.

“As Matija Beckovic, their own, Serbian academic, said: ‘We shall pursue. Anything can happen except us not pursuing and it has never happened that those who pursued have not succeeded, we shall pursue’,” Oric quoted Beckovic.

This prompted a reaction from both the Office of the High Representative (OHR), as well as the US Embassy in Bosnia. Both condemned his statement, labeling it as aggressive and unacceptable.

“It fell right into the lap of all political structures and now they can clean their consciousness with it,” Oric said.

He said he was talking about a book and about what one family went through, listing historical events one after the other, adding that he never called for any war.

“The US Embassy and the OHR should watch the clip and see what I was saying. I never called for any war and I don’t understand why the Serbs felt they were called out,” Oric said.

“We can’t talk about genocide? Someone should tell me. Is it forbidden to tell our children that we were killed in Podrinje and by whom?” he asked.

Oric said he only quoted Serbian academic Beckovic and if what he said was forbidden, they should withdraw his books.