Mladen Dragojlović - The last session of The Hague Tribunal supposed to symbolize the end of one hard period in the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) history, but it wasn’t the case. Instead of that, the final verdict in “Jadranko Prlić and others’” case, Court set the scene for further political divisions in the fragile state, burdened with “ghosts of the past” and without real and full reconciliation.
The first instance verdict in case of Ratko Mladić, which confirmed the genocide in Srebrenica, but not in other cities, the final verdict in “Prlić” case, the suicide of Slobodan Praljak in the courtroom, pronouncement of Croatian leaders as part of the “joint criminal enterprise” members and confirmation of Croatian aggression in BiH are not something what serve to the coexistence of three constitutional nations in BiH. Somebody can say that the Court is not the institution which must work on reconciliation than to define the truth and sentence the war criminals. But, exactly that was something what widen the gap between politicians in the state.
The end of Tribunal left several questions open and give the chance to Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats to remain unsatisfied with the Tribunal decisions in last more than two decades. The fact is that Bosniaks were confirmed as the biggest victims during the war. Serbs and Croats already said that the Tribunal failed to sentence Bosniaks for war crimes committed by members of, mainly Bosniak, Army of the Republic of BiH. In fact, most of Bosniak war commanders involved in the atrocities and killings of Serbs near Srebrenica, and Croats in Herzegovina, were acquitted at the Tribunal. One of them is Naser Orić, who, according to witnesses, leaded the Muslim forces in killings of more than 3 000 Serb civilians. Also, the beheadings of Serb civilians in Vozuća, committed by the Islamic radicals (Mujahedins), are still without the identification of culprits, and without any kind of verdict.
Croats can be unsatisfied with the work of the Tribunal since many deaths of civilians are killed and the indictments dropped at the Court. The fact also is that the local courts do not deserve the trust of all citizens that they are impartial. Serbs documented that most of sentences were pronounced in cases against Serbs, smaller number to Croats and Bosniaks are sentenced on the minimal number of cases.
Also, Croats are unsatisfied with the fact that Croatia is marked as aggressor, but Serbia was not. The "joint criminal enterprise” is the new formulation in the world and it was, by common opinion, established to sentence Serb officers and political leaders for war crimes in Srebrenica, Prijedor and other places where Tribunal defined that Bosniaks were victims of mass killings and genocide.
Serbs will be unsatisfied with the Tribunal decisions in case of Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadzić, along with the lack of convictions in the cases of Bosniak and Croat atrocities on Serbs during war. Also, Tribunal failed to keep the same line of verdicts in similar cases, so Serb officers were sentenced on bigger punishments than Bosniaks or Croats.
Bosniaks are not satisfied with the fact that Serbia was not marked as aggressor on BiH, and that late Serbian president, Slobodan Milosević, wasn’t pronounced as member of “joint criminal enterprise”. But, the biggest remark of Bosniaks is that Tribunal confirmed Serbian aggression on Croatia, but not on BiH, as for two decades claim their political leaders
All of these reasons show that in the upcoming months the relations between constitutional nations in BiH will be rearranged. How it will be, in this moment is very difficult to predict. Anyway, the Bosnia and Herzegovina as it is now, will disappear. It will be good if they find the way to improve cooperation and lead the country in stable peace. If not, the world can just say: Good night, Bosnia!
Mladen Dragojlović is a journalist based in Banja Luka, capital of the Republic of Sprska, which is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In October 1997 he was one of the journalists from ex-Yugoslavia, who, under the auspicies of BBC, visited Hungary in order to observe the development of independent media in the country. He has participated in a large number of seminars on journalism.
Since 1996 he has worked in all types of media as TV reporter, radio presenter, translator and news agency reporter, including 'Studio 99' TV station in Sarajevo, Banja Luka TV Station 'Nezavisna TV, TV and Radio reporter and presenter for 'Nezavisna TV' in Banja Luka, agency reporter in SRNA (Republic of Srpska News Agency), for 'Fokus' Daily newspaper as a journalist, for 'Dnevni avaz' (www.avaz.ba) - a Sarajevo based daily newspaper - as Banja Luka correspondent, and for South East European Times (www.setimes.com).
Since 2014 he has been working as Bosnia and Herzegovina correspondent for the International Balkans News Agency (IBNA). He is fluent in Serbian, English and can read and understand German.