Victims want the establishment of war crimes legacies after Karadzic's verict

NEWS 02.04.2019 16:22
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Source: N1

Victims of war will ask domestic and international institutions to protect the truth, the rights of the victims and stop the denial of genocide after the ruling against war criminal Radovan Karadzic, representatives of a dozen of associations announced on Tuesday.

The initiative comes after The Hague-based UN Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals sentenced in March Karadzic, the former president of wartime Republika Srpska (RS), now a Serb-dominated semi-autonomous entity within Bosnia, to life in prison for crimes against humanity, including the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Croats, the siege of Sarajevo, the Srebrenica genocide and taking UN peacekeepers hostage during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

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“In the Hague, we asked what the next steps will be. Can we expect that anything will change in Bosnia and Herzegovina so that the victims are satisfied as much as possible, so that the foundation of the criminal organisation, the so-called Serb Republic in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is abolished,” said Murat Tahirovic, the head of the Association of Victims and Witnesses to the genocide.

The 12 organisations have adopted a set of conclusions which Tahirovic said they will forward to international institutions and UN member countries since it was a UN court which ruled in Karadzic’s case.

He said the victims will ask for the ruling to be implemented so that all the consequences of the crimes which Radovan Karadzic committed along with his followers would be gradually removed.

Kada Hotic from the Movement of the Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves, said that representatives of the associations will also ask the politicians in power, most of all Bosniak ones, for bringing the situation back to square one according to the ruling.

“Bosnia should be complete, Srebrenica must not remain in the hands of war criminals, there shouldn’t be a police force there which committed a genocide,” she said, adding that the initiative is for the “abolishment of everything that the war criminals achieved with their crimes.”

According to the head of the association of parents of children killed during the siege of Sarajevo, Fikret Grabovica, the court missed the opportunity to sentence Karadzic for involvement in a joint criminal enterprise.

“Serbia was again left without responsibility and washed away its responsibility for the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Grabovica said.

He added that the ruling with which the genocide in Srebrenica was confirmed is continuously being rejected in Republika Srpska and said that a law banning genocide denial must be adopted, as denial is “the final phase of genocide and an intro for even graver crimes that could take place.”

According to the head of the Union of former prison camp detainees in Bosnia, Jasmin Meskovic, a lot of things should change now after the ruling.

“A grave crime and a terrible genocide took place in Bosnia under the flag and the coat of arms of Radovan Karadzic. That same flag, the same coat of arms, the same institutions which Karadzic created are being used today,” he said.

“If this situation remains as it is, then Karadzic was completely correct when he sent a message from the Hague a day after he was sentenced, saying ‘I am the winner. The RS is the winner’,” he added.

The associations will also ask for Karadzic’s ruling to be incorporated in the curriculums in schools, he said.

The head of the Women Victims of War association, Bakira Hasecic, said that the associations need to mount pressure on Bosniak politicians.

“So that we don’t leave it to the NGO sector and so they finally start doing all we have been doing since we became victims,” she said.

Hasecic also had a message for the High Representative in Bosnia, who is tasked by the international community to oversee the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the Bosnian war.

“It is due time for him to fire all of those who deny the genocide and glorify war criminals,” she said, urging the current High Representative, Austrian diplomat Valentin Inzko, to use the special powers he has according to the Dayton Agreement.