High Representative shocked after visiting east Bosnian town of Foca

NEWS 06.07.2021 16:13
Source: OHR

At the same time as Ratko Mladic got his final court verdict for the most monstrous war crimes on European soil after the Second World War, in some towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina murals were being painted in his honour, High Representative to BiH Valentin Inzko wrote Tuesday, shocked by what he saw in the east-Bosnian town of Foca.

“On 20 April this year, I read in one Bosnian portal that Ratko Mladic had been granted a 25-meter long mural in Foca. I could not believe it! I decided that I would personally visit all the locations in Bosnia and Herzegovina where his murals were located. Kalinovik, Nevesinje, Gradiska, and Gacko, including the last one in Foca. I intended, after the final verdict was pronounced, to send a letter to the mayors with a request to order the removal of the provocative murals,” said the High Representative in BiH Valentin Inzko in his message to the public of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He said he intended to talk to the young mayor after personally checking what the mural dedicated to Mladic looks like. However, after the shock, anguish and disbelief that he felt in this small town, full of big murals depicting big war criminals, Inzko realized that it was necessary to send an SOS throughout the civilized world instead of begging and calling for the mayor’s prudence, in places like Foca, Kalinovik, Nevesinje and elsewhere.

“During the last year’s commemoration of the victims of Srebrenica, I publicly called on Milorad Dodik to remove the plaque dedicated to Radovan Karadzic from the Student Dorm in Pale. I have been persistently trying to open a public debate on dealing with the war past, which should ultimately lead to reconciliation. Unfortunately, to no avail,” Inzko wrote.

The fourteen priorities required for the EU’s positive opinion on BiH’s candidacy include reconciliation, he recalled asking this condition has been met!?

“The situation today is so embarrassing that we could make a ‘tourist’ map of the towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina with murals of war criminals. Foča is certainly among the ‘champions’. There are numerous big and small streets and squares in the RS named after war criminals who have been convicted, but also after those who have managed to escape the hand of justice, the crimes of which have however been documented by TV cameras,” the High Representative. “Commemorations for the victims of the Srebrenica genocide are being held around the world this week, miles away from BiH. From remote Australia, through Canada, to the Croatian Parliament, the Srebrenica tragedy is being remembered. At the same time, while the whole world remembers the Srebrenica victims with reverence and respect, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or more precisely in the entity of Republika Srpska, we are witnessing the glorification of the architects of those crimes, convicted war criminals, we witness the denial of Srebrenica genocide, relativization of historical facts, etc. And there is more of that every day.”

Inzko then asked has the Peace Implementation Council implemented peace in BiH!? Can Srebrenica victims be commemorated all over the world, but their executioner glorified in Bosnia and Herzegovina!? The executioner who, with his two-meter depicted head, freezes the blood in the veins of every normal person. Including the High Representative. Who will return to that town under such conditions!? Is that the way to implement Annex 7 of the Dayton Agreement!?

That is why the international community should consider possible further steps as soon as possible, he argues.
“Glorification of war criminals is unacceptable in the civilized world and there should be consequences,” High Representative Inzko stated.