“I am not competent, and I'm not an expert. You should ask medical professionals, psychiatrists in particular. I think on all three sides in Bosnia and Herzegovina. If the medics, who know what they are talking about, do not give their professional opinion, what will the rest of us ordinary people do,” professor Miodrag Zivanovic from Banja Luka University told Oslobodjenje, referring to the statement made by the president of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik that the BiH Armed Forces are considered hostile to RS if Third Regiment does not participate in the RS National Day celebrations.
Ordinary Hate Speech
Nedzad Korajlić, Dean of the Faculty of Criminology and Security Studies, University of Sarajevo, says that the declaration that OSBiH is a hostile force is yet another in a series of anti-constitutional and anti-Dayton statements made by the RS president.
“It is plain stupid to think of the BiH Armed Forces in such a manner. I would not give much attention to it, because it is pointless. The Armed Forces are a constitutional category, a Dayton category. Whether you like or not like the way they are organized is another matter. We are getting involved in a debate that needlessly attaches importance to trivial and petty political attitudes, rather than focusing on respecting the law, and on implementing and complying with the decision of the Constitutional Court. It is necessary to respect the decision of the Constitutional Court, says Korajlić.He believes that such statements cannot be considered a threat to war.
“This is hate speech whose purpose is exclusively to incite flaring ethnic tensions, and distracting from the real problem by spreading further speculation. In this context, I certainly do not think of the war. Of course, BiH is a very unstable and sensitive area. Many things here are often understood as an attack on territorial integrity. That is his opinion. I would only make an observation taking a criminal law perspective. I believe that the citizens of BiH are smart enough to consider such statements with forbearance and caution. Why not go back to a few months or years ago, when we reached a level of confidence, and we started down the right path in terms of healing our wounds, says Korajlić.
Former BiH defense minister Zekerijah Osmić reminds us that it is not the first time that Dodik gives such statements when it comes to government institutions.
“It is not the first time that he condemns the BiH Armed Forces. In this case we have a statement related to the current yet unconstitutional date, and OSBiH definitely cannot and should not participate in the celebration of this date or any other date in RS or the FBiH. Both the account and the approach are flawed. The regiments are traditions and heritage of all three nations. Everything else is a matter of common commands and decisions made by the joint command. Let us not forget that the supreme commander of the BiH Armed Forces is the BiH Presidency. All the Ministry’s decisions are reviewed by the BiH Presidency. They can seek clarification, or nullify a decision,” said Osmić.
Neither Dodik or anyone else can start a war because, he says, "we have a lot of protective mechanisms."
“It should be noted that we still have two active quarters in Sarajevo, the NATO quarters and quarters of EUFOR, which are actively monitoring the situation and the developments within the BiH Armed Forces. I do not think that can Dodik’s statement can destabilize the situation in the BiH Armed Forces. However, that the statement may cause disruption, or that it in some way can cause the heating up of certain Serbs working in the Armed Forces or the Ministry, is possible - and that can be destabilizing to a certain extent, says Osmić.
Sociologist Jusuf Ziga, a professor of the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo, says that Dodik’s statements cannot surprise anyone anymore.
“To state that this is a hostile army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that it is hostile to RS or to anyone else, should make any serious, responsible person who holds to what he says, take a deep breath before uttering such words. One would have to argue why it is that this army is the enemy, what has it done, or what is it planning to do?! This person can say anything, so this statement does not surprise me one bit. The other thing is that we in this country, but also with the help of foreigners, with such a legal and political system, have created an environment that anyone can say what they want, even if it is unconstitutional what they say and do, and no one is harmed, but that is another issue,” says Ziga.
Vukota Govedarica, president of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS), commented on the decision by the BiH Minister of Defense, Marina Pendeš, that the RS celebration may only be attended by members of the Military Orchestra of the Armed Forces, but not the Third Regiment. He said that it is clear that barriers and obstacles are often created out of the most basic things, and that there is no understanding in BiH. “We in BiH need more tolerance, and I think we need to stop looking so much to the past, but look to the future together instead. That could be the key to success in BiH, he said.
He said that he expected RS president Milorad Dodik to use his great personal ties with the president of the BiH HDZ, Dragan Čović. “He has repeatedly expressed his personal conviction that Mr. Čović is a man who represents RS in the Presidency. But it is obvious that in this case, this kind of cooperation between Dodik and Čović does not exist, and it is evident that the HDZ made an obstruction between Dodik and Čović, that there are some private connections between, but not connections in the interests of the BiH peoples. If there were, I think that the HDZ Minister of Defense would have adopted a reasonable decision that does not harm anyone in BiH and RS, said Govedarica.
Nothing New and Surprising
Dragan Čavić, leader of the National Democratic Movement (NDP), said that the nothing in the BiH left to surprise him anymore.
“When the Minister of Defense Marina Pendeš decided to send music to RS for the January 9 celebrations, she should have also sent the notes by which they should play,” said Čavić.
Translated by: Tea IVANOVIĆ
(Original version: Pukovi baštine tradicije, komanda odlučuje)