Recent statements by Montenegro’s Justice Minister, who questioned the fact that a genocide took place in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, are “shameful” but also reflect the true views of the parliamentary majority in the country, the Mayor of Podgorica and deputy leader of Montenegro’s Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), Ivan Vukovic, told N1 on Tuesday.
Montenegro’s President, representatives of opposition political parties and non-governmental organizations, as well as the head of the country’s Islamic Community, strongly condemned recent statements by Justice Minister Vladimir Leposavic, who said he is prepared to recognize that genocide was committed in Srebrenica “once this is proven unequivocally.”
Leposavic, an international law expert known for being a member of the legal team of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, argued that the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which ruled that genocide took place in Srebrenica, has “lost its legitimacy.”Vukovic said Leposavic’s statements are “unacceptable” and “humiliating.”
“I am ashamed because the Minister of Justice in my government is able to say something like that, that is, not to state what is a fact determined by the International Tribunal, and if we have a problem with genocide in Srebrenica or are trying to relativize that fact, we cannot to talk about any progress,” he said, adding that “every decent citizen of Montenegro is ashamed of such statements.”
According to Vukovic, Montenegro’s Prime Minister, Zdravko Krivokapic, “shares the opinion of the Justice Minister.”
Montenegro’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dritan Abazovic, tweeted on Tuesday, “The genocide took place in Srebrenica. The Montenegrin government respects all international judgments and conventions. There is no discussion about that. The one who does not understand this, has no place in state functions. Let's look to the future, we have a lot of work to do.”
According to Vukovic, however, this was only done to mitigate the damage.
He argued that there have been deep divisions in Montenegro since the beginning of the 20th century but that tensions have never been bigger in the country.
“Montenegrins are endangered and we have a serious number of people in the government who do not recognise the Montenegrin nation and they hope Montenegro will return to the auspices of Serbia and be part of the ‘Serb world’,” he said, arguing that this is also the first time in the past 15 years that no minorities are truly represented in the government.
“An MP from the Bosniak Party (in Montenegro) said recently that the atmosphere in Montenegro irresistibly reminds him of the ‘90s,” Vukovic said, urging Bosnian citizens to follow the developments in Montenegro closely.