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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



PM: Serbian bank can have opinions but it has no say regarding Tesla on coins

July 23, 2021

The National Bank of Serbia (NBS), which has on Thursday objected to Croatia's intention to put the image of Nikola Tesla on the national side if its euro coins, is free to express its opinion on the matter and take a stand, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Friday, adding however that the bank's objections will not influence the decision-making process.

“Nikola Tesla was born in (the village of) Smiljan on the territory of Croatia. And he lived most of his life in the United States. It is the people of Croatia who have recommended that one of the future euro coins should include the image of Nikola Tesla. We are not appropriating anybody,” Plenkovic said, commenting on NBS’ accusation that putting Tesla’s image on the Croatian national side of euro coins would “represent an appropriation of the cultural and scientific legacy of the Serb people.”

The suggestion made by Croatians is a great gesture, Plenkovic argued, as Tesla was of Serb descent and his contribution to the entire world is undeniable.

“That is something to be proud of. I cannot see why someone would see this as a problem. If I were the head of the Serbian central bank, I would send my congratulations,” Plenkovic said.

The motifs for the Croatian national side of euro coins were voted on by the people in Croatia in an online survey, where they could choose between the five offered suggestions or put in their own. The image of Nikola Tesla was one of more than 11,000 free suggestions, and it received over a fifth of all votes.

As a result, the Croatian Central Bank’s Currency Committee on Wednesday defined a final proposal of the motifs, which included the image of Tesla.

The other motifs will be the Croatian coat-of-arms, a map of Croatia, the marten (after which the Croatian currency is named), and the Glagolitic script.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/pm-serbian-bank-can-have-opinions-but-it-has-no-say-regarding-tesla-on-coins/

PM accuses EC of lying about rule of law in Slovenia

July 23, 2021

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, accused the European Commissioner Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, of lying in the annual report on the rule of law in the EU, which warned about the problems with democratic standards in that country.

The European Commission (EC) report said Slovenia was lagging in the field of media freedom, and pointed out intimidation and threats to journalists, and expressed concern over the refusal of Jansa’s government to finance the state news agency STA this year.

Jansa accused Lenarcic, a Slovenian, of acting against state interests, alleging that there were concerns about the situation in the area of the rule of law in Slovenia.

„He is lying. We expect him to initiate court proceedings; we will present our documents there,“ Jansa wrote on his Twitter account.

Arriving at an EU meeting in Slovenia, Lenarcic dismissed the allegations.

„Those who undermine the rule of law and media freedom do more damage to Slovenia than those who warn of the problems of such behaviour,“ he said.

He also rejected accusations by Jansa’s right-wing government of advocating the restriction or withdrawal of European funds from Slovenia.

Jansa has long been plagued by accusations of growing authoritarianism, similar to that of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, his political ally.

Critics say that Jansa’s government is putting pressure on the Slovenian media, inciting hate speech and mismanaging the country in the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic.

On the other hand, Jansa claims that the EU applies double standards regarding the rule of law and has a more lenient attitude towards Western members.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/pm-accuses-ec-of-lying-about-rule-of-law-in-slovenia/ 

Serbia’s Stefanovic: I will sue the media that links me to the mafia

July 23, 2021

Serbian Defence Minister Nebojsa Stevanovic said he would sue all media outlets who "present him as a criminal and conspirator, in collusion with criminals and murderers, without any arguments."

„By placing me in the same basket with the mafia, as those who would ‘profit from the removal of Vucic’, the authors and initiators of such sick ideas have crossed every threshold of decency and I perceive their senseless attacks as attacks on me, my family and my country, and therefore my further answers and steps will be such as to protect everything that is most sacred to me,“ said Stefanovic.

He announced that he would file lawsuits on Monday and added that „the truth must stop this shameless chase, which causes damage and endangers my family, but at the same time severely damages the credibility and reputation of our state.“

In a statement, Stefanovic did not mention the suspected leader of the criminal clan, Veljko Belivuk, by name, but some media close to the authorities published allegations on the front pages of the July 23 issue that Belivuk „worked“ for Stefanovic and „defended“ him in his statement to the Prosecution, while „attacking“ the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic.

On that occasion, the Defence Minister announced that he would not be surprised if „such monstrous lies and attacks“ came from the „Djilas’ media.“

„But I will not allow the media supporting our President and the Government to construct some statements and link me with the mafia, knowing that the arrested murderer is telling lies,“ Stefanovic wrote.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbias-stefanovic-i-will-sue-the-media-that-links-me-to-the-mafia/

Serbia destroys 1.4 tons of marijuana in „Nikola Tesla“ power plant

July 23, 2021

The "Nikola Tesla" thermal power plant in Obrenovac, near Belgrade, destroyed over 1.4 tons of marijuana, which were seized earlier by Serbia’s police, the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) said Sunday.

Minister Aleksandar Vulin, pointed out that the state is determined in the fight against drug dealers, adding that the drugs seized by the police end up destroyed in the thermal power plant.

Vulin emphasized that marijuana will not be legalized while Aleksandar Vucic is the President of Serbia, and he is the minister of police.

He added that he is in favour of changing the policy towards drug traffickers and for the strictest possible sanctions for each of them, especially for those selling drugs to minors or younger adults, assessing that he perceives it as attempted murder.

Vulin underlined that lighter and heavier drugs do not exist and that both those who sell one joint and those who sell kilograms of drugs will be arrested.

„Every small dealer, every self-proclaimed singing star, everyone who sells drugs will be the subject of our work and we will do our best to arrest them and hand them over to justice. Anyone who sells one joint would sell kilograms of drugs had they a chance,“ Vulin said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbia-destroys-1-4-tons-of-marijuana-in-nikola-tesla-power-plant/

Media coalition calls on Serbia’s institutions to stop campaign against KRIK

July 23, 2021

The Coalition for Media Freedom called on Friday on Serbia’s authorities and responsible individuals to urgently stop the campaign against the Center for Investigation Crime and Corruption (KRIK) website conducted by pro-regime tabloids.

The vicious campaign started after KRIK on Thursday published a transcript of the testimony of Veljko Belivuk, suspected of being a criminal organisation’s boss responsible for alleged first-degree murders, tortures, kidnapping, rape and arms and drug trafficking.

Belivuk linked President Aleksandar Vucic and some of his allies to the group.

The Coalition warned that the orchestrated campaign of KRIK’s criminalisation, discrediting and targeting of its reporters created an atmosphere of lynching and put the journalists in danger of attacks.

It added it was inadmissible for the TV channels with national frequencies to broadcast hours of programmes „targeting KRIK as a pro-criminal media without a shred of evidence, only because the website did its job professionally.“

The Association of Serbia’s Journalists (UNS) also said that targeting KRIK reporters as sympathisers or members of criminal groups was inadmissible and dangerous for their safety.”

UNS also condemned the “editorial decision to preset to their leaders as unquestionable testimonies of those suspected of the murders and torture, as done by the Nova daily.”

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/media-coalition-calls-on-serbias-institutions-to-stop-campaign-against-krik/

Kyrgyzstan open for cooperation with Serbian-Russian humanitarian centre

July 23, 2021

Serbia's Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Friday that Kyrgyzstan was interested in cooperating with the Serbian-Russian humanitarian Centre, an NGO which in 2016, the US administration claimed served as "a special centre for espionage or other nefarious activities."

The Interior Ministry statement said Vulin met Minister of Emergency Situations Boobek Ajikeev on Kyrgyzstan’s initiative due to its interest in the Centre.

It added Ajikeev thanked Vulin for the chance to get familiar with Centre’s work since „we have heard it is the best in assisting in emergencies and rescue services not only in Serbia but the entire region.“

The Centre has already triggered controversy over the possibility of receiving the diplomatic status in Serbia what the West saw as the legalisation of Moscow’s spying activities in Serbia and the Balkans, as suspected by the US in 2016.

Belgrade reiterates its commitment to the European Union full membership. Still, its links to Russia, China and other countries which do not enjoy Western support or trust makes it difficult for Serbia to adjust its foreign policy with the EU, which is a key condition if it wants to join the bloc.

In 2019, President Aleksandar Vucic said that if the Centre allowed the diplomatic status, the EU would criticise him, while if he didn’t grant it, the pro-Russians would react.
However, he said he was taking care of Serbia’s interests and that the public would be notified when the Centre’s status was decided on.

„The state has its serious policy and doesn’t follow what someone likes or not, but only its interests,“ Vucic said in 2019.

There was no new information on the Centre’s status.

According to its website, „the Serbian-Russian Humanitarian Centre (Centre) is an „intergovernmental humanitarian non-profit organisation registered according to the Serbian laws. It is responsible for the entire Balkan Peninsula. It performs the following tasks: the prevention and elimination of emergencies, including firefighting and humanitarian assistance to people affected by emergencies—implementation of joint projects related to humanitarian demining, training in the field of prevention, and the elimination of emergencies and testing and demonstration of firefighting and rescue technologies.“

Vulin on Friday said his Ministry was open to improve bilateral cooperation with Kyrgyzstan to secure efficient management of the emergencies and reduce the risks of catastrophes.

He also thanked Ajikeev for his country’s refusal to recognise Kosovo’s independence.

Kyrgyzstan is a member of several organisations, including the Eurasian Economic Union and the United Nations. It is the second poorest country in Central

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/kyrgyzstan-open-for-cooperation-with-sebian-russian-humanitarian-centre/

War criminal Ratko Mladic’s mural in central Belgrade

July 23, 2021

A mural with the image of Ratko Mladic, convicted war criminal and former commander of the Army of Republika Srpska, the Serb-dominated entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was painted on a building in central Belgrade Vracar area, the independent Danas daily reported on Friday.

The mural appeared on the day when the outgoing High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Valentin Inzko imposed the changes to the Bosnian Criminal Code, prohibiting the denial of genocide and glorifying war criminals.

Mladic was sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1995 Srebrenica genocide and crimes against humanity against non-Serbs during the war in BiH.

The Appeals Chamber of the Hague Tribunal recently upheld the first-instance verdict finding Mladic guilty of ten counts – participation in the Srebrenica genocide, persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, forcible transfer of population, terrorizing the population, illegal attacks on civilians and taking hostages.

Serbia’s authorities continue to deny the killing of over 8,000 Bosniaks in the summer of 1995 was a genocide and refer to it as an awful crime, tragedy, etc, and blasted the latest decision by the former High Representative in Bosnia.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/war-criminal-ratko-mladics-mural-in-central-belgrade/

Serbia’s prosecutor says charges against crime boss soon, shows victims’ images

July 23, 2021

Mladen Nenadic, Serbia’s Prosecutor for Organised Crime, said on Friday the indictments against Veljko Belivuk’s criminal organisation would be filed within the legal deadline, most probably by next Friday.

He added that the investigation was carried out against 31 suspects for five first degree murders, drug and arms trade, kidnapping and rape.

Nenadic showed reporters images of dismembered bodies but banned the filming, saying the evidence should not leave the prosecutors’ office.

Despite the ban, Nenadis showed photos of the remains of four victims. The images of the fifth, he said, could not be seen before they were shown to the family.

Nenadic said the prosecutors secured expertise and material evidence from the premises where the victims were believed to have been killed.

He added Serbia had great international assistance in discovering evidence from the Sky platform the suspects, as he said, use for communication.

That was the third display of the mutilated bodies and the first whose publishing was banned.

Before Nenadic, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin showed those images at news conferences in March and earlier in July again, causing outrage by the public and experts.

Belivuk was officially the head of a Partizan FC supporters’ group and said to be the leader of a criminal group suspected of the most heinous crimes.

On Thursday, the KRIK investigative website published what it said was Belivuk’s testimony during the interrogation.

He denied crimes but spoke a lot about his links to Vucic, who he said met in person once, and other people from the authorities, claiming he did some work for them.

Vucic, his party officials and the almost entire governmentdenied Belivuk’s claims, saying he was lying to reduce a sentence.

Serbia’s President denied any links to Belivuk and his group on Thursday and said that he would spend life in prison if it was proved.

He and his allies also suggested Belivuk had links with some opposition leaders and ‘their’ media, and Vucic announced the evidence in a public address on Saturday.

On Friday, the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliamentcalled for an end to claims that Serbia’s opposition was linked to organised crime.

On the other hand, the opposition blamed Vucic as being a mafia boss in Serbia and demanded his resignation or dismissal.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbias-prosecutor-says-charges-against-crime-boss-soon-shows-victims-images/

Belgrade weekly editor says Telekom could face serious problems

July 23, 2021

NIN weekly editor in chief Milan Culibrk said that Telekom Serbia’s decision to pay 600 million Euro for TV rights to the English Premier League could push that state-owned company into serious problems.

Telekom Serbia is set to pay 600 million Euro for the TV rights to six seasons of the English Premier League with experts saying that there will be no profits from the deal. Opposition politicians and the public believe that Telekom is being used as a propaganda tool by the Serbian authorities in an effort to exert influence in the entire region by pushing out other cable operators such as SBB in Serbia which carries the N1 and Nova S cable stations considered to be in opposition to President Aleksandar Vucic and his ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS).

Culibrk, a long-time economic journalist, said that the decision is dubious in terms of profitability. “The thing that causes the greatest concern is the fact that the financial report reviewed by the shareholders’ assembly early in July shows that Telekom’s net debts continued growing last year when there were no new acquisitions reaching 1.4 billion Euro. Add to that leasing dues of 300 million Euro and we see that Telekom has crossed the debt limit for the first time – 50 percent of the value of its assets. That is a huge problem in terms of the functioning of the company,” he said.

He recalled that Telekom issued 200 million Euro worth of corporate bonds late last year which were bought up by the National Bank of Serbia (NBS), pumping money into the company.

Culibrk recalled that the state is Telekom’s majority shareholder along with 4.8 million Serbians who also own shares, adding that the company management should be much more accountable to both of those. “The most interesting thing would be for someone to explain how the money can be earned back in that period. How much income from advertising are they counting on? I don’t see how this can be profitable. It turns out that Telekom is consciously heading for a loss for some other interest,” he said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/belgrade-weekly-editor-says-telekom-could-face-serious-problems/

Kosovo President asks Japanese PM for help in obtaining new recognitions

July 23, 2021

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani, who is visiting Japan, met with the Prime Minister of this country, Yoshihide Suga, whom she asked for support for obtaining new recognitions of Kosovo and membership in international organizations.

Osmani thanked Prime Minister Suga for the country’s support to Kosovo in the field of health and environmental protection, expressing readiness to further expand cooperation in other areas of common interest, especially due to Japanese investments, the Kosovo President’s Office said.

In addition to messages of gratitude, Osmani had one other request.

„President Osmani asked for Japan’s support for strengthening Kosovo’s international position, especially in the process of recognition and membership in international organizations,“ the statement added.

According to the official data of the Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan is the 27th country to recognize Kosovo – in March 2008, right after the unilateral declaration of independence was published.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/kosovo-president-asks-japanese-pm-for-help-in-obtaining-new-recognitions/

Outgoing High Rep in BiH explains why he imposed law banning genocide denial

July 24, 2021

The outgoing international administrator in Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, rejected any attempts to portray his act of imposing a ban on genocide denial as a move directed against any of the peoples in the country, explaining that authorities in BiH rejected nearly all the chances he gave them to distance themselves from war criminals.

Only days before his term in Bosnia is ending, High Representative Valentin Inzko used his special set of powers – the Bonn Powers – to introduce amendments to the Criminal Code of Bosnia-Herzegovina sanctioning the glorification of war criminals convicted by final and binding judgments, as well as the denial of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

As of August 1, Germany’s Christian Schmidt will take over the Office of the High Representative (OHR) and continue the task of monitoring the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement in the country.

According to the OHR statement, the amendments aim to address the inadequacy of the currently applicable legal framework of BiH which “does not offer an adequate response to the issue of hate speech manifested through the denial of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, even when those crimes have already been adjudicated with final and binding judgments reached by a number of domestic and international courts.”

Inzko argued that “the lack of acknowledgement, accountability and redress for victims of mass atrocities and systematic abuses has devastating effects on society.”

“Hate speech, the glorification of war criminals, and revisionism or outright denial of genocide and war crimes prevent societies from dealing with their collective past constitute renewed humiliation of the victims and their loved ones, while also perpetuating injustice and undermining interethnic relationships,” he said, adding that all of this “causes frustrations, makes the society chronically ill, and prevents the emergence of desperately needed reconciliation” which prevents the building of a peaceful and prosperous future for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“The citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina have waited many years for their elected representatives to legislate this very serious issue. However, every effort to do so was blocked! During that time, the situation has gotten worse, and is now getting out of hand! By advancing various conspiracy theories, some political leaders are openly praising the finally convicted war criminals, denying that the Srebrenica genocide ever took place, while some ordinary citizens are following their cues and narratives,” he explained.

“I have long hoped for humanity and common sense to prevail, but, regretfully, we are witnessing an escalation of glorification of war criminals, the challenging of the final and binding judgments reached by the Criminal Court established by the United Nations. Apart from the fact that such behaviour constitutes a mockery of the rule of law, I am deeply convinced that it is also sowing the seeds for potential new conflicts. Therefore, I believe that it is now necessary to regulate this matter with legal solutions,” he said.

Inzko emphasized that his interventions in Bosnia’s criminal legislation “have nothing to do with collective guilt” but instead deal with individual responsibility and reject in advance “any potential manipulations which might claim that these legislative amendments are directed against one of the three peoples.”

“Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs are good people,” he stressed.

“There are no bad nations. These are legislative amendments aimed at relaxing and relieving all peoples and citizens of BiH. Individuals convicted of such serious crimes should not be praised, should not have public spaces dedicated in their names or murals painted in their honour, regardless of for whom or against whom they fought. Recognizing the guilt of individuals allows people to unburden themselves from the weight of the past, and move on towards a more promising future. Young people born after the war have been robbed of a better future on a daily basis at the expense of the bloody past. Everyone becomes a victim of the verbal warfare over the interpretation of the past war, and this has to stop now! It is important to understand that without truth there is no justice, and without justice there is no much needed reconciliation.”

Inzko then explained why he used the Bonn Powers at the end of his term.

“My conscience dictates that I have no right to end my term while the convicted war criminals are being glorified. I have no right to leave such a situation to the tormented citizens of this beautiful country and to my successor. I have no right to ignore the verdicts of the Hague Tribunal, which was established by the UN Security Council, and I am responsible for the civilian implementation of the peace process.”

He explained that, since the final verdict was handed down against former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic – whom he described as “the architect of evil”, he has been working on the project of dealing with the past in order to “reach the point where forgiveness would be sought and given through the process of facing the truth – All the way to the point where the entire society would be healed!”

The project has the goal of Srebrenica, which is already globally known for genocide, also becoming globally known for forgiveness,” he said, adding that he was inspired to promote this idea by late Srebrenica activist Hatidza Mehmedovic, “who lost all close members of her family in the Srebrenica genocide, both sons, husband, and 34 other family members, but she was ready to extend, and extended, her hand of forgiveness.”

“Regretfully, when, earlier this year, I requested the Republika Srpska National Assembly to withdraw the decorations awarded to three convicted war criminals, the RSNA delegates refused to do so by a majority vote, while confirming the correctness of the decision they made earlier. Almost all chances that I offered to the domestic authorities to distance themselves from war criminals were ultimately rejected,” he said.

“Therefore, as a moral obligation towards the citizens who suffered the horrors of the war, as well as a debt to the young people in this country who were born after the war, I have decided to use the Bonn powers and intervene in the criminal law, to the effect that no glorification of war criminals and no revision of historical facts will in future be possible with impunity. And this country is indeed entitled to enjoy the universal values of civilization,” Inzko concluded.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/outgoing-high-rep-in-bih-explains-why-he-imposed-law-banning-genocide-denial/

US Embassy: threats of dissolution of BiH contrary to Constitution

July 24, 2021

Actions or threats related to the dissolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina are unacceptable and contrary to the Dayton Peace Agreement and the Constitution of BiH, which do not give the entities the right to secede, the Public Relations Office of the US Embassy in BiH said Saturday.

“Political, religious and community leaders, as well as the media that report on them, have a responsibility to focus on constructive dialogue instead of the rhetoric of divisions. Republika Srpska is an integral part of BiH and isolation is not in the interest of its citizens. All leaders need to address the key tasks of democratic governance and reforms leading to a better future for all in BiH,” US Embassy told Fena news agency when asked to comment on the announcement by BiH Presidency member Milorad Dodik that the entity would embark on a dissolution process, preventing the work of BiH institutions (Prosecutor's Office, SIPA), after High Representative Valentin Inzko imposed legal amendments banning genocide denial.

The US EMbassy said all victims of the wars in Bosnia deserve justice, and that is a human rights issue, and no one should take advantage of the suffering of any victim for political gains. Establishing individual responsibility for war crimes and rejecting allegations of collective responsibility are equally important for wound-healing and confidence-building.

“The United States remains firmly committed to BiH as a democratic, multiethnic, sovereign and independent state with unquestionable territorial integrity and its future, which is best guaranteed in the Euro-Atlantic community. Actions or threats related to the dissolution of Bosnia are unacceptable and are contrary to the Dayton Peace Agreement and the Constitution, which do not give the entities the right to secede,” said the Public Relations Office of the US Embassy in BiH.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/us-embassy-threats-of-dissolution-of-bih-contrary-to-constitution/

Head of Bosnia's Islamic Community welcomes ban on genocide denial

July 23, 2021

The ban on genocide denial which the High Representative in Bosnia imposed on Friday represents “a glimmer of hope for a brighter future” and an opportunity for the country to move forward, said the head of the Islamic Community in BiH, Husein Kavazovic.

Only days before he is to leave Bosnia, the High Representative of the international community, Valentin Inzko, used his special set of powers – the Bonn Powers – to impose the law.

As of August 1, Germany’s Christian Schmidt will take over the Office of the High Representative (OHR) and continue the task of monitoring the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement in the country.

The law changes that Inzko imposed stipulate prison sentences lasting between six months and five years for anybody who “publicly condones, denies, grossly trivializes or tries to justify a crime of genocide, crimes against humanity or a war crime.”

According to Kavazovic, this decision to impose the ban was long-awaited, “although we all hoped that the domestic legislative bodies would adopt it.”

Kavazovic said that in the years after the war and after the facts about what happened in Bosnia were established by domestic and international courts, “not only was there no confrontation with the past in some circles, but the denial of genocide and other systematic crimes and the glorification of war criminals have only intensified since recently.”

“That is why this is an important and courageous step on the way towards facing the past, building peace and restoring trust,” he said, stressing that the decision represents “not only a symbolic sign of justice for the victims and their families” but also a concrete step which means that those families who will no longer have to witness those who escaped justice gloat about their loss.

This is a unique opportunity to stop the denial of genocide and glorification of criminals for the sake of future generations, and an opportunity for all in BiH to move forward, pay tribute to all innocent victims and clearly condemn policies that led to division and crime, the religious leader said.

“This is the only right decision and a glimmer of hope for a brighter future in this area where there will be no room for criminal ideologies and bearers of hatred and discord among peoples,,” he said, adding that “one should never lose hope in God's justice and good people.”

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/head-of-bosnias-islamic-community-welcomes-ban-on-genocide-denial/

RS politicians say High Rep's genocide denial ban might cause ‘political chaos’

July 23, 2021

Politicians from Bosnia's Republika Srpska (RS) entity slammed the international envoy's decision to impose the genocide denial ban in Bosnia and Herzegovina, warning that this might cause “political chaos” in the country.

A few days before he leaves the office and hands over the duty to German envoy Christian Schmidt, outgoing High Representative Valentin Inzko imposed amendments to the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which among other things stipulate the prison of up to five years for genocide denial.

On the contrary to those in the Bosniak-Croat shared Federation (FBiH) entity, the politicians and officials in the Serb-majority RS condemned such a decision.

Branislav Borenovic, the opposition PDP party leader, said that Valenin Inzko “wants to turn off the last remaining light in this country” and assessed that this law might “lead to political chaos in BiH with immense consequences.”

“This is a very harmful political attempt to impose a law solution that will lead to political chaos in this country,” said Borenovic, adding that this is a law that is impossible to be implemented.

“This is politically catastrophic,” he added.

Deputy Speaker of Bosnia's House of Peoples Nikola Spiric noted that Inzko managed to raise the tensions ahead of his departure from BiH and to “jeopardize a common future of people in BiH.”

Further steps of the officials elected in the RS will be known after the institutions in this entity make an official stance on this matter.

And RS National Assembly Speaker Nedeljko Cubrilovic already summoned political leaders for consultations, scheduled for Monday.

The invitation said that the politicians are expected to harmonise a stance on the High Representative's decision.

Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, earlier said that the international envoy's decision to impose the genocide denial ban means “the last nail in Bosnia and Herzegovina's coffin,” and he announced “institutional response” of the Republika Srpska entity to that decision.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/rs-politicians-say-high-reps-genocide-denial-ban-might-cause-political-chaos/

Politicians in FBiH entity welcome genocide denial ban: A great day for BiH

July 23, 2021

International envoy's decision to impose law changes that prohibit the genocide denial in Bosnia and Herzegovina has sparked mostly positive reactions among the officials and politicians in Bosnia's Bosniak-Croat shared Federation (FBiH) entity, who assessed the High Representative's ban as the “right decision” and the day when it was made a “great day” for BiH, Europe and rest of the world.

Sefik Dzaferovic, the Bosniak member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, who is elected in the FBiH, said that genocide denial in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been tolerated for years and the only result of that was “more and more toxic environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the victims’ families could simply not live in peace.”

“The High Representative made the right decision,” he added.

Zeljko Komsic, the Croat Presidency member also elected by voters in the FBiH, said it was about time to prohibit the genocide denial.

“Also, this is a clear message to all those policies that build their narrative on the glorification of genocide and spreading of inter-ethnic hatred among the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that such activities are not acceptable and will not go without adequately being punished,” he underlined.

A few days before he leaves the office and hands over the duty to German envoy Christian Schmidt, Inzko imposed amendments to the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which among other things stipulate the prison of up to five years for genocide denial.

Bakir Izetebegovic, the Speaker of Bosnia's House of Peoples, noted that this decision “took off the burden of genocide from an honourable part of the Serb people,” adding that Inzko is finalising his term in Bosnia and Herzegovina in a dignified manner.

MP Denis Zvizdic also welcomed the High Representative's decision, adding that this will “calm the tensions down in the years ahead and build the foundations for the future.”

He believes that negative reactions will not last for too long and that the law will contribute to the change of overall situation in the country.

Inzko would have passed the law changes a long ago, but he needed a “green light” of the world and European states, according to MP Sasa Magazinovic.

“This is something that will make this society at least a little bit better,” he added.

Elmedin Konakovic, the leader of the People and Justice party, assessed the decision as a “chance for the Serb people to give up on individuals and groups who ordered and committed genocide and other crimes.”

“This is a great day for Bosnia and Herzegovina, a great day for Europe, a great day for the whole world,” he added.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/politicians-in-fbih-entity-welcome-genocide-denial-ban-a-great-day-for-bih/

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