WHAT COULD BE THE PROSPECTS OF
A COUNTRY SEEING THE SREBRENICA TRAGEDY WITH SUCH INDIFFERENCE?
Public debate within the project "Promoting a Social Climate
Propitious to Transitional Justice and Culture of Non-impunity" realized with the
assistance of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
Valjevo, July 13, 2011.
The third round table in the series for this year to present the
Helsinki Committee's magazine, The Helsinki Charter, in the Valjevo Cultural Center was
addressed by the magazine's editor-in-chief, Seska Stanojlovic, historian Latinka Perovic
and sociologist Ivan Kuzminovic of the Helsinki Committee.
Speaking of the Charter's editorial policy, which consequently fosters
the culture of remembrance as a major segment of transitional justice, Seska
Stanojlovic drew the audience's attention to some stories published in the last
double-issue (No. 151-152). In this context she pointed to the entire section on the
arrest of Ratko Mladic, accused of genocide, and his extradition to ICTY. The most moving
story in this section was penned by the correspondent from Sarajevo, Irena Antic - the
story based on tragic experiences of two mothers from Srebrenica, who buried their sons on
this July 11, the sons they saw for the last time 16 years ago. She also referred to
"an astonishing confession" by an anonymous member of the notorious "Red
Berets," tasked in the spring of 1999 to shoot Jacky Rawland, BBC correspondent, in
Djakovica. As exceptional reading matters, she also recommended the article by Latinka
Perovic, marking the 100th birthday anniversary of the multidimensional revolutionary,
communist leader and communist renegade, writer and philosopher, Milovan Djilas, as well
as Vladimir Gligorov's economic analysis of "the costs of nationalism."
In her keynote address, Ms. Perovic also referred to the
Charter's editorial policy, which, as she put it, "analyses the complexity of
developments rather than simplifying them." "This is particularly relevant to a
genuine research of the historical fall of Serbia's intellectual and political elites at
the end of 20th century," she said. Twenty years after the last war Serbia has not
made a stock of that period yet, said Ms. Perovic, adding that it could be said that
Serbia is still in "mental confrontation" with the world and should change its
priorities rather than stick to the two-centuries-old Greater Serbia project. She
emphasized that even the present-day policy was unconvincing, particularly when it came to
the region and the regime's attitude towards Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro.
Ivan Kuzminovic captured the audience with a tragic story about a
young man from Nis, whom the police killed by mistake and then tried for years to hush
everything up. With this telling example Mr. Kuzminovic actually emphasized the need for
radical reform of the judiciary and law enforcement system. "Reforms can be postponed
no longer. Should they be, Serbia would remain an extremely poor and extremely unhappy
society," he said.
All the three keynote addresses found an echo in the audience. Most of
those attending the round table said they agreed with everything said. Through comments
rather than through questions, citizens of Valjevo expressed their concern for Serbia
prospects. What could be the prospects of a country seeing the Srebrenica tragedy with
such indifference, many commented. People in the audience were also troubled with the
incumbent political elite's incapacity for faster movement towards EU, the more so since
that elite "was the best we have," as many put it.