Krestić’s stands are extremely nationalistic as he
advocates the same ideas that had been behind Serbia’s warring
campaign against other ex-Yugoslav republics and nations, and
instigated war crimes against non-Serb population, ethnic cleansing
and genocide. That was the predominant policy of SANU in 1980s,
practically promulgated by all leading academicians, historians and
lawyers in the first place. Its strategic document was the infamous
Memorandum, firstly published in Vecernje Novosti in 1986. The
document’s “historical” and “legal” arguments and fabrications were
after reshaping of republican borders of the time and subsequent
establishment of the Greater Serbia. Academicians were those who
provided the ideological groundwork for Serbia’s warring propaganda
in 1980s and 1990s. After all they role in preparing the terrain for
ex-Yugoslav wars, the same as Memorandum itself, were in the focus
of expert testimonies before ICTY in several trials.
The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights strongly
condemns the campaign whereby some state and para-state-run media
are now promoting most retrograde political ideas of the warring
1990s. This mostly refers to manipulative statements by the
“controversial,” extremist historian Vasilije Krestić, one of the
authors of the infamous Memorandum.
During Academician Nikola Hajdin’s presidency,
SANU has distanced itself from the “Memorandum group” and tried to
restore its dignity. Departments other than historical and legal
were given support and achieved significant scientific results – the
general public, unfortunately, knows little about. However, the fact
remains that SANU has never officially renounced the “Memorandum
Krestić’s presidency of SANU would dangerously
undermine the institution itself, social sciences and the society as
a whole as it would encourage intellectual circles that strongly
oppose Serbia’s membership of EU. It would also undermine the trends
in SANU promoted by the incumbent President Nikola Hajdin. Krestić
advocates SANU’s involvement in public policy, and insists on
“unresolved national questions” such as Kosovo or Vojvodina’s
“unconstitutionality” along the lines of Memorandum.
This policy has never been totally defeated. On
the contrary, it is still in action, especially in Vojvodina.
Segments of the structures in power also strongly oppose Serbia’s
course towards EU despite all official proclamations of the present
government. Krestić as the President of SANU would mean that these
structures have carried the day.
As a key scholarly institution of the country,
SANU is morally obliged to do its utmost to lay bare the policy that
had led Serbia to “historical defeat.” It is also duty-bound to
initiate moral renewal of the society, based on the truth and facts.