bosnia report
New Series No: 29-31 June - November 2002
Crime and injustice
by Sonja Biserko

Sonja Biserko photo small‘I’d like to emphasize two problems that we confront on a daily basis: first, the generalization and relativization of crime; secondly, relations with the Hague Tribunal. As the crimes become more manifest and the evidence more available, Serbian society, or more accurately its elite, is becoming collectively more efficient in its efforts to relativize crime and "de-ethnify" it. The way in which this new Truth is marketed - especially via so-called independent media like B92 TV and Vreme - is as totalitarian as the nationalism which initially set in motion the machinery of war. The totalitarian mind-set is unfortunately now the main obstacle in Serbia to the democratization of society, as can be seen most clearly in interpretation of the recent past. People talk today about civic nationalism, about civilized and uncivilized nationalism, while every attempt to address the issue of war crimes is treated as ‘revolutionary justice’. Instead of confronting the crimes, they ask for a public debate to uncover what actually happened. One member of the State Commission for Truth and Reconciliation has declared that each crime has ‘its past and its future’. One might well ask whether the Holocaust too had a past that would justify the murder of six million Jews.’

Sonja Biserko, president of the Serbian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, quoted in Feral Tribune (Split), 13 July 2002


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