The entity parliament of Bosnia’s Serb-majority region Republika Srpska (RS) “will have to” annul its decision on awarding convicted war criminals with special charters, as requested by the international community’s High Representative Valentin Inzko, according to RS opposition politician Vojin Mijatovic.
“I am not sure if it will be literally the annulment or in some different form, but it is sad we are speaking about this topic in 2021. It is even more sad that none of those (who voted for those recognitions) feels human responsibility towards victims,” said Mijatovic, a social-democrat.
High Representative, who oversees the implementation of the peace process in Bosnia and has special powers to impose laws and decisions, has addressed the Serb-majority entity’s parliament with a request to annul the 2016 decision within three months.
In the letter he sent to the RS National Assembly, Inzko said “the glorification of war criminals, including glorification in the form in which we witnessed on October 24, 2016, directly hurts and provokes those who suffered the consequences of the war and damages the memory of the victims.”
Commenting on the international envoy’s request and the fierce reactions it sparked among the Serb leadership, Mijatovic said:
“We’re sinking deeper and deeper and those who are doing this are trying to defend undefendable.”
According to the opposition politician, Inzko made it clear – he did not call out all Serbs.
As for speculations about the law on genocide denial being prepared in the country, Mijatovic said such law was a necessity.
“In a country that saw conflicts, war and aggression, we have to put it all in a legal framework because of such unarticulated political statements, for the sake of future generations. These generations are growing up on the stories that genocide did not happen and we must put an end to that,” he underlined.
Mijatovic lives and works in Banja Luka, Bosnia’s second-largest city and administrative centre of Republika Srpska. Answering to the host’s remark that he is one of the rare politicians in this city acknowledging the Srebrenica genocide, Mijatovic said that for the past 25 post-war years everyone was telling lies and claiming they were right.
“We’re paying the price of those lies, and there is a huge crime going on in the background of those lies.”
But, he stressed, the main problem is not in people but in the political parties.
“We launched the campaign for local election in Banja Luka with a city walk and I was carrying a banner saying ‘Banja Luka, heart, Srebrenica’. People were secretly applauding and saying ‘bravo’,” he said.
“The key to the recovery of society is in emotional closeness between Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Mostar and other larger cities. But, in the physical as well. Someone should pass a rule saying that Sarajevo children go to Banja Luka for school trips and vice versa. To Mostar as well,” Mijatovic noted, arguing that the distance between the cities was “systemically created.”
According to the politician, the time has come for a generational shift among the politicians as well as new approaches and new roles.
“Let it be someone new so we see if they are worse or better than those before them,” he said
The normal life will come the moment we create a civic concept of the state, stressed Mijatovic, adding that his party, the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has the largest responsibility in that as the largest opposition party in the country.