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Zagreb, March 23 2017
REKOM Coalition (Regional commission for determining facts about war crimes and other severe violations of human rights committed on the territory of former Yugoslavia) expressed concerns about blockade of dealing with the past process made by decision makers.
Therefore, they called upon institutions of government to provide them access to data and facts which would no longer be means of political manipulation but of starting new process of reconciliation and trust.
Political analyst Zarko Puhovski warned about difficulties of latter, in the same time reminding journalists on conference that the idea of this project was to form a commission in the role of intergovernmental body which would establish circumstances and names of people killed during the war in 90’s. This commission would be constituted of state parliaments from former Yugoslavia.
As he pointed out, stagnation emerged out of two reasons – lack of synchronicity in states’ support and choosing selected perspectives during confrontation with past.
Both opposition and parties in power, as well as NGO’s, are living from denied possibility of establishing facts
‘’Nobody accepts the concept meant to be promoted by us that would start with basic fact assumptions. In the same time we see both opposition and parties in power, as well as NGO’s are living from denied possibility of establishing facts. It is known where the mass graves are and not much is done on discovering them and seeing what that is all about because existence of those is the strongest argument for politicians in reality. It is more important to say they exist, to use it as a kind of threat from the other side’’, said Puhovski.
Support of people who are always saying it is necessary to speak about victims and missing and helping their families to cope with grievance doesn’t exist. ‘’Those same people are sabotaging attempts of data collection because dealing with the past would mean the same should be transferred from its mythical to factual shape and that is not as usable in politics and ideology as it used be’’, he claimed.
He said the goal of the Coalition is to bring to a discussion a factual substrate and stated that it is well known today the number of people who died during the wars in Yugoslavia is bigger than 125 thousand.
Appeal to ruling elite in Croatia to provide access to the facts
Coalition appeals to ruling elites in Croatia ‘’to be serious about own words and do something in order to deal with the facts, which is to make them accessible’’.
What we want to do today is to remind and upset the liders of post Yugoslavian states to stop the past, to end it in an honest way. We have to know the names and the culture of forgetting, non-remembering and inventing new truths must be forgotten. We have to put the facts in order and then start to think about new democratic future,’’ cited Nataša Kondić from Fund for humanitarian law, Belgrade.
She pointed out that Coalition has more than 70 thousand documents with information about the circumstances of death during the war in Croatia, BiH and Kosovo. Until now they have documented 23 thousand victims who lost their lives in the war or in happenings related to war. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, as stated by Kandić, had documented close to 12 thousand victims of war, with additional 80 thousand victims whose identity and cause of death should yet be identified.
‘’That is the moral minimum in regard to what happened in the past and what is our obligation for generations to come. I want to make an appeal to the states for doing that minimum and to determine circumstances of death and the names of civilians and soldiers. We are not looking for one truth nor official truths, we are looking for facts and space where lies and falsifications cannot dwell because data and facts will be verifiable and available to everyone,‘’ she said.
Calculating gains instead of respecting rights of victims and acknowledging suffering of murdered
Vesna Teršelić, head of the Documenta – Center for confronting with the past said that instead of respecting rights of victims and acknowledging suffering of murdered that occurred we have shortsighted calculating of political gains. Nor destiny of killed people or facts about what happened are not determined, she added. Government institutions have their data and prerequisite to connect them with the same data collected by organizations for human rights is publishing.
‘’Cooperation with institutions of government is necessary because in this way they are holding us in captivity of unfinished wars. To manage to end wars as a society we need facts and acknowledgment of suffering’’, declared Teršelić.