How did you see
the incident at the Potočari
I am sorry it happened, most of all because of
victims and their families. The incident desecrated their suffering
Would you say that was an organized assault on
Premier Vučić or a spontaneous reaction by some persons attending
It’s hard to say at this point. However, the
incident seemed to have been planned. What was behind it is on
relevant authorities to come up with. Various conspiracy theories
that are now being construed in Serbia are certainly not to the
Mayor of Srebrenica Ćamil Duraković and Mothers of
Srebrenica welcomed Vučić’s attendance at the commemoration and
strongly condemned the assault, claiming victims and members of
their families were not perpetrators.
This is only logical since Srebrenica, family of
victims and victims in general were wrong the most by this incident.
They are, I would say, more than forgiving. All they ask for is
recognition of the genocide, acknowledgment of their tragedy, which
simply cannot be boiled down to anniversaries, commemorations or
ceremonial addresses – and the more so since 20 years later many
families have not buried their dearest while avenues to better life
are still closed to them.
The Premier of Serbia claims he has the
information that he was attacked by some football fan groups,
including one from Serbia. What would you say about his claims?
Probably there were some risk assessments about
it. But we should wait and see what relevant institutions have to
say. As things stand now, everything plays into the hands of
opponents of facing the past, those working hard against any
normalization. They’ve been denying the genocide and, hence,
construing a narrative to support their argumentation.
Would you agree with Federica Mogherini and Bill
Clinton saying that Vučić manifested extreme courage having decided
to attend the commemoration in Potočari and calling this gesture of
his most important?
International figures have a different approach
toward regional reconciliation. From their point of view, that was
surely an act of courage. However, victims’ perception of that
gesture is by far more important. You must always take into account
that victims are still living in a badly wounded society, the
society that allows executioners’ systematic denial and
marginalization of the crime, the society that equalizes victims and
their executioners. You should also bear in mind all that happened
several weeks before July 11. Here I refer to Russia’s vetoing the
Security Council’s resolution in the first place. Serbia was
gloating over it and, I would say, met it with arrogance. All that
resolution-performance lifted the veil from Serbia and Russia alike.
Negation of the verdicts passed by the highest UN judicial
institutions undermines the international order. Serbia dived into
the whole play offhandedly and that will leave far-reaching
consequences on its movement toward EU. It allowed Russia carelessly
to put it in the service of its interests.
As for victims, the resolution would have been a
major confirmation of their tragedy Belgrade has been negating and
marginalizing all the time. Also, all that hue and cry about the
civil action “7,000,” the ban on it, massive police presence at all
events commemorating the Srebrenica genocide – staged by Women in
Black, Helsinki Committee, Human Rights House and others – cast our
government and our society in bad light.
The Orić case, and all those arrest warrants
Belgrade has been reviving in specific situations only fuel general
hysteria and paranoia.
They /Mogherini and Clinton/ said what they had
despite the fact that Vučić and Serbia’s officials have been
avoiding to qualify the Srebrenica massacre as genocide, and the
fact that they had asked Russia to veto the UNSC resolution.
The West is after regional normalization and takes
that’s a way to it. Regional cooperation is among key criteria for
EU accession. And this is only logical. However, there can be no
regional normalization without Serbia taking stock of the 1990s
wars. Only this could pave the road to regional normalization and
cooperation. Germany and France did not reconcile by relativizing
Germany’s responsibility but by precisely defining its role in and
accountability for the WWII. Normalization is unsustainable without
a clear-cut definition of the nature of the 1990s wars and Serbia’s
primary responsibility for Yugoslavia’s brutal disintegration, the
more so since the mainstream premises /in Serbia/ are untrue.
Reconciliation cannot be attained with the premise that all the
sides were victims, because what we are having now is an endless
“victims market” with no chance for breaking that vicious circle. We
should speak about victims as they are all the same, but speak about
them contextually and chronologically. The mainstream Serbia speaks
about Serb victims alone.
Since EU and US adopted resolutions on the
Srebrenica genocide and insist on Serbia’s facing it, how would
interpret their support to Vučić who negates these resolutions and
their stands with all his might?
Their stance is not contradictory as their
emphasis is on the genocide that was committed and on Serbia’s duty
to recognize it. They will not give that up. I think that with all
the actions it has taken lately Serbia disadvantages itself the most
by demonstrating its moral numbness and insensibility. The fact
remains that the ICJ decision is the first decision on genocide and
implies Serbia’s responsibility for failure to prevent it. At that
time Serbia was gloating over not being accused of genocide, while
turning a blind eye to major specifications referring to it.
Serbia’s politicians in power cannot bypass these qualifications
just like that and believe that every halfway gesture they make
would be welcomed in the region.
After such outcome and everything accompanying
marking of the 20th anniversary of the genocide against Bosniaks
what is it we could expect in terms of regional reconciliation?
The incident laid bare the state of affairs in the
region. It disclosed false assessments about regional cooperation.
The fact is that regional cooperation has been stagnating and
regressing in the past three years. And Serbia is the one
responsible as it has not only been negating its responsibility for
the war but also trying to arbitrate all situations by dictating
moral tenets to others, and undermining its neighbors by playing on
Serb minority communities.
In this context, how do you see statements given
by Serb and Bosniak officials?
To my knowledge from the media, Bosniak leaders
are expressing their regret the same as families of victims. I
believe they mean it, as the incident, basically, harmed victims and
the dignity of the commemoration the most.
Upon his return to Belgrade Premier Vučić gave a
proper statement. But all other reactions in Belgrade were
catastrophic, meant to demonize Bosniaks. All these statements and
alleged analyses are based on the thesis about Bosniaks’s
responsibility for the outbreak of the wars and, in particular, for
the crimes committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
All this just adds fuel to the fire, contributes
to citizens’ frustration and takes Serbia away from its European
orientation. I would say that with such statements the government
deliberately plays into the hands of anti-European and pro-Russian
bloc to which the incident is more than welcome. No doubt that
Russia will use this incident too to heal its frustration. Sadly,
this all situation has taken a bad course.