Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CNAB welcomes the ruling striking the controversial Bosnia and Herzegovina Citizenship Act as unconstitutional

[I am passing along this press release from the Congress of North American Bosniaks. My thanks to them.]

The Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB) welcomes the decision of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) ruling that the controversial Citizenship Act is unconstitutional. The Court ruled that the Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliament has six months to change the law which takes away the Bosnian-Herzegovinian citizenship to those citizens who have also become citizens of another country, except for those holding citizenship of countries with whom BiH has signed bilateral agreements on such issues. CNAB has repeatedly warned that the Citizenship Act discriminates against Bosniaks in the Diaspora because of the fact that the majority of them were forced to leave the country during the Bosnian war. Enforcement of the Citizenship Act in 2013 would have devastating consequences for relations between Bosniaks living outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina and their homeland.

This decision is extremely important in its intention to encourage more serious and long term solution in relation to the Bosnia-Herzegovinian diaspora. More must be done to improve the relations of the Bosnian government and the large number of citizens who now live in other countries. It is appalling that the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has an extremely high percentage of citizens who live outside of its borders, does not have an established Ministry for Diaspora relations which is necessary to adequately address the needs and concerns, especially of those citizens who were forced to leave as refugees.

CNAB will continue to lobby the state institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as all relevant institutions in the United States, Canada, and the European Union to call attention to the problems faced by Bosnians living abroad. Furthermore, we will continue to voice our concerns with human rights violations against Bosniaks in the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including obstruction to the return of refugees as well as the lack of progress in development and implementation of key reforms that would create the necessary conditions for the return of refugees to their homeland.

On behalf of CNAB,

Hamdija Čustović, CNAB spokesperson

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hitchens on 9/11 - Bosnia Mentioned

Christopher Hitchens revisits the essential moral point about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in this article for Like virtually everything the man writes, it is worth a read not only for the substance of his arguments but for the elegance of his prose. I'm linking it partly because it is always good for the public to be reminded that the Bosnian genocide was essentially an act of evil (as he does at the end of this piece); and also because I am grateful that even with the advanced cancer he is afflicted with, it is still possible to pass along a link to the "latest from Christopher Hitchens". I hope Mr. Hitchens would approve of my choice to describe cancer as something he is "afflicted with"; it may not be the most precise or apt choice of words, but I suspect he would prefer my choice to "suffers from."

I don't know Mr. Hitchens--I once stood a few feet away from him, at a show of support outside the Danish embassy in Washington, DC, but chose not to introduce myself or take up any of his time, and unfortuately that was the only opportunity I've ever had to speak to the man. But I have a great regard for him, and I know I am not alone in saying that my own political and ideological journey has been enriched, informed, and partially shaped by the force and pursuasiveness of his polemical journey. His cancer diagnosis is not "new news", but neither is my intellectual and ideological debt to the man. Consider this post my humble tip-of-the-hat from an aspiring historian and budding writer to a master of the craft.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

War Criminal Momcilo Perisic Convicted

[Press Release from Bosniak American Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina]

Today, the former Yugoslav army chief, General Momcilo Perisic was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for war crimes that he committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Croatia. Gen. Perisic was sentenced to 27 years in prison for inhumane acts, such as providing military aid to General Ratko Mladic in orchestrating the genocide in the U.N. protected zone of Srebrenica that took the lives of over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys, as well as for providing crucial military assistance during the four year shelling of Sarajevo.

Furthermore, Gen. Perisic is responsible for having direct control of rebels that injured and killed innocent civilians in the city of Zagreb in May of 1995. Lastly, he is responsible for sending military aid such as countless bullets and artillery shells from Belgrade to Serb rebels in BiH. Gen. Perisic's support of these Serb forces had a direct impact on the atrocities that were committed in BiH during the war that lasted from 1992-1995. Gen. Perisic is the most senior Yugoslav officer to be put on trial at the ICTY and presiding Judge Moloto stated that "the crimes charged in this case were not perpetrated by rouge soldiers acting independently, rather they were part of a lengthy campaign overseen by top (Bosnian Serb) officers on the Yugoslav Army's payroll."

Today, BAACBH remembers all of the victims that lost their lives due to the cruel and inhumane acts that were perpetrated by individuals such as General Perisic; and let us not forget that justice is the only path towards a democratic and prosperous Southeast Europe.