On the occasion of 22 years since Operation Storm, which lasted from 4 to 7 August 1995, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) appeals to the governments of the region to work more diligently to establish justice for victims of this, but also every other, armed action that took the innocent victims and produced destruction. It is disturbing that the West Balkan leaders are alienating themselves from obligation to deal with the past, which further aggravates the overall process of establishing justice for victims and the culture of remembrance.
Twenty-two years ago, with the attack on Knin, in the dawn of 4 August, started an exodus of Serbs from Krajina, the biggest ethnic cleansing in Europe after the Second World War. In the action of the Croatian army and police named ‘Storm’, with a tacit consent of the international community, more than 250,000 people were expelled in just a few days, mostly to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and other countries of former Yugoslavia, and thousands of houses and other buildings were burned, while even today, a large number of refugees are waiting for their return to the areas from which they were expelled.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE) is once again perplexed by the tone and vocabulary in the reaction of the University of Montenegro (UOM), within its attempt to discredit the CCE’s work. Apart from the avalanche of tags, which becames seal of the unsigned reactions of UOM at the expense of CCE’s statements, we still have not received the answers to some of the key questions. Hence, this is at the level of already seen, uncreative and unsubstantiated slanders, or an expression which is not suitable for a higher education institution but at the same time confirms the CCE’s claims regarding the academic spirit at UoM.
CCE emphasised the issue of urgent solving of student enrolment on Higher Medical School in Berane, while staying neutral between two conflicted, and until recently, very close sides, because the situation is not all black and white. This was clearly elaborated in CCE’s announcement, for all those who were willing and knowledgable to read it carefully.
The Centre for Civic Education (CCE) believes that dispute between the University of Montenegro (UoM) and the Government of Montenegro regarding the seat of the Higher Medical School, whose headquarters have so far been in Berane, has its political and legal dimension, while students who already study or want to study are suffering the damage.
When it comes to political dimension, it is clear that the Government of Montenegro has an interest, and due to existing socio-economic situation, namely, attempts to preserve “peace in the house”, and further mobilization of the voting body, to insist that the Higher Medical School remains in Berane, with no long-term or any more thoughtful strategy behind it. The UoM itself was not previously bothered by political appointments or purges, in which its leadership has so far worked perfectly with the Government.
On the occasion of the 11 July – Remembrance Day of the genocide in Srebrenica, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) pays homage to victims of that crime and reminds that the Srebrenica tragedy must not be forgotten, but that memory of the victims in Srebrenica must become part of the compulsory culture of remembrance, as well as that it is necessary that all those responsible for this crime receive justice.
Genocide in Srebrenica represents the most massive crime committed on European soil after World War II, when members of the Bosnian Serb Army have, from 11 to 19 July 1995, systematically killed at least 7,800 unarmed Bosniaks aged 14-70. Crimes committed in Srebrenica in July 1995 were subject of nine trials before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, while the Appellate Council of the Dutch Court has recently confirmed that the Netherlands has a partial responsibility for the deaths of 300 Muslims killed in Srebrenica within the UN protected zone, at the base of Potočari.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE) expressed satisfaction, on the occasion of announcement of Government of Montenegro, signed by the Public Relations Service, due to the fact that Government decided to open a dialogue about an important segment of European integration – legitimacy of this process reflected through the public support.
Also, CCE would like to thank the Government on this rather unplanned but unambiguous acknowledgement of CCE’s influence, through the exercised effort to try to deny part of the allegations which Daliborka Uljarević, CCE Executive director, made during the show «Direktno» on TV Vijesti. It should be noted that these allegations were made in the presence of high state official who did not try to denounce them during the entire show.
Simultaneously, it is hard to neglect the impression that cause and manner of this reaction are not a good indicator of and Government’s capacity for dialogue and openness in relation to NGOs as partners in this process, when those NGOs have a critical approach.
CCE Executive director did not polemicize with the EU Delegation, but with Government of Montenegro which had its representative, so there is no need for Government to involve other actors in its reaction.