Statement by Bosniac Memeber of BiH Presidency, dr. Haris Silajdzic at the Summit of the UN Security Council on 23 September 2010
- Published on Saturday, 25 September 2010 20:22
- Written by Harun
I would like to thank you, President GÜL, and the delegation of the Republic of Turkey for convening this high level meeting in order to make a strategic review of the Security Council’s growing role in the maintenance of international peace and security.
I would also like to thank the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for his excellent presentation. I sincerely hope that the outcome of our meeting today will serve as a useful tool for future Security Council deliberations.
The primary role of the Security Council under the United Nations Charter is to maintain international peace and security. We should live up to the expectations and send a unanimous message today that we commit ourselves to developing the means to fulfill this responsibility.
Coming from the perspective of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I cannot stress enough how crucial it is that the lessons learned in the past are applied accordingly. This Council has erred in the past, and Bosnia and Herzegovina is the most illustrative example of that in modern history.
By imposing and maintaining the arms embargo on Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Security Council added to the overwhelming military advantage of Milosevic’s regime that intended to aggrandize its own territories at the expense of the surrounding states through genocide and ethnic cleansing regardless of human cost. As a result, according to the ICRC data, 200,000 people were killed, 12,000 of them children, up to 50,000 women were raped, and 2.2 million were forced to flee their homes. May I also remind you that one million three hundred fifty thousand citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina still leave outside of the country as a consequence.
Some powerful members of this Council justified this course at the time by arguing that the lifting of the embargo would add oil to the fire. The result was that the fire was essentially quelled with the blood of the innocent.
And, then, the horrors culminated in the genocide that was committed in Srebrenica in July 1995.
In fact, the UN Secretary-General’s Report on Srebrenica from 2000 unequivocally admitted:
“Through error, misjudgment and an inability to recognize the scope of the evil confronting us, we failed to do our part to help save the people of Srebrenica from the Serb campaign of mass murder…..Srebrenica crystallized a truth understood only too late by the United Nations and the world at large: that Bosnia was as much a moral cause as a military conflict. The tragedy of Srebrenica will haunt our history forever.”
We cannot bring back the dead, but we can give dignity and justice to the survivors. What we say today is not aimed at the past, but at the future. We owe it not only to the victims and survivors, but to our common humanity. The message that this Security Council sends to the would-be perpetrators of crimes in the name of a twisted ideology must be clear: your crimes will not pay off.
The errors that were made in Bosnia and Herzegovina have to this day not been corrected. To the contrary, the peace and security established by the Dayton Agreement and the progress made in many fields are now destabilized by open calls for secession of one part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This destabilizing rhetoric was preceded by the testing of the international community’s patience for the last fifteen years.
Inadequate responses to the constant blocking of state institutions, return of refugees, and provocative rhetoric have been tolerated long enough for the perpetrators to believe that the time has come to turn the territories where atrocities, ethnic cleansing, and genocide were committed into their own fiefdom.
This is a threat not only to peace, security, and stability in which the international community
invested so much, but also a test of the international community’s resolve to prevent the escalation and the opening of fresh wounds in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It would be a repetition of mistake to dismiss open calls for changing international borders as election campaign rhetoric. Our ability to prevent is tested once more.
President John F. Kennedy once rightly said that “an error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.”
I would also like to say a few sentences about the post-conflict peace-building operations.
Although all relevant national and international actors should be involved in the process, we consider the political will of the host country and the national ownership to be sine qua non conditions for the success of peace-building operations. The peace building process is primarily a national responsibility of post-conflict countries.
Promotion of dialogue between the parties to a conflict, particularly between decision-makers and civil society, is critical for national institutions’ capacity building and for confidence building and reconciliation process.
Holding accountable all those who committed crimes and bringing them to justice is of crucial importance to reconciliation process. Another unpleasant reminder is in order here: Ratko Mladiæ, the chief executioner of the genocide in Srebrenica, is still at large.
Peace building operations should be based on an integrated approach that includes establishment of good governance, rule of law, promotion of human rights, institution building, security sector reform, economic reconstruction and development, and full reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons.
The role of women and their involvement in peace-building efforts should be strengthened in post-conflict societies as well.
In our increasingly interconnected world, the issues of peace and security are inseparable. New threats and challenges emerge by day. No country can isolate itself from them or tackle them individually. The Security Council, therefore, must be prepared to deal with challenges in a coherent, comprehensive and just way. The Security Council must meet the expectations and fulfill the hopes of millions of those in need throughout the world. They expect nothing less from us. We must not fail them.
Thank you, Mr. President