Does Serbia really want Ganic?

Despite requesting the extradition of Ejup Ganic – which has already damaged relations between Bosnia and Serbia, and will negatively impact this autumn’s elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina – it remains far from clear whether Serbia possesses the will to actually try Ganic in court.

By Florian Bieber

The arrest of Ejup Ganic in the UK has already been a big success for Serbia. Judging by the fact that I just gave an interview for a Chinese news magazine on the case, the arrest of Ganic has successfully overshadowed the beginning of the Karadzic trial. The Prosecution in Serbia had opened an investigation into the Dobrovoljacka case in early 2009, but the timing of the arrest now is indicative: The case altogether seems political motivated to show to the domestic audience in Serbia that also non-Serbs are indicted for war crimes. The ICTY in The Hague had investigated the case and did not pursue it. There is furthermore a problem with Serbia indicting Ganic for an alleged war crime committed in Bosnia (which was internationally recognized at the time). While some of the victims were Serbs from Serbia, and Ganic is born in Serbia, the crime is primarily the responsibility of the Bosnian war crimes chamber.

The incident has already had a negative impact on relations between Bosnia and Serbia. This comes after a recent improvement following mediation by Turkey which resulted in both countries again exchanging ambassadors after relations had been managed at the level of charge d’affairs for years after Serbia rejected Bosnia’s candidates for ambassador to Serbia. It also comes after the Serbian president Tadic has reaffirmed Serbia’s support for the territorial integrity of Bosnia, which has been widely seen as an effort to reign in the nationalist statements by Milorad Dodik. Furthermore, there have been discussions in Serbia to pass a resolution in parliament to condemn the genocide in Srebrenica. Finally, the investigation and extradition request undermine the agreement on legal cooperation signed between Serbia and Bosnia just a few days ago. The agreement seeks to put an end to the ability of criminals to escape punishment by crossing the border to Serbia or Bosnia and hiding behind dual citizenship. A lot of this good will and progress created in recent months has been destroyed by the arrest.

More important might be the negative impact on Bosnia itself. The arrest and the case will be welcome ammunition in the election campaign in Bosnia–general elections are due in October: Serb politicians express their dismay at Bosnian state institutions seeking to defend Ganic, while Bosniak politicians accuse Serbia of fighting the same battles as during the war. Thus, it helps to remind of the war and incompatible political goals which will only help nationalists in the elections.

I am not certain that Serbia has the stomach or the will to really try Ganic in court. The case is weak so either he would be sentenced in a clear miscarriage of justice which would undermine internationally the domestic war crimes investigations and Serbia, or he would be released which would undermine the court domestically. Thus, if he is eventually released by the UK, or ‘extradited’ to Bosnia, Serbia has won. The authorities can once more claim that non-Serbs evade justice, but that Serbia tries all it can and that it can get to them even in the UK, not unlike the governments line of argument for Kosovo.

Florian Bieber is a Lecturer in East European Politics at the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.

Da li Srbija zaista želi Ganića?

Uprkos zahtevu za izručenjem Ejupa Ganića – što je već ugrozilo odnose između Bosne i Srije, te će se negativno odraziti i na nastupajuće izbore u Bosni i Hercegovini ove jeseni – i dalje je nejasno da li Srbija poseduje dovoljno volje da zaista izvede Ganića pred sud.

Autor Florian Bieber

Hapšenje Ejupa Ganića u Velikoj Britaniji već sada je veliki uspeh za Srbiju. Sudeći po samoj činjenici da sam upravo dao intervju o ovom slučaju za kineski vesnik, hapšenje Ganića je uspešno zasenilo početak suđenja Karadžiću. Tužilaštvo u Srbiji je otvorilo istragu slučaja Dobrovoljačka ulica početkom 2009. godine, ali je sam trenutak hapšenja indikativan: čini se da je celi slučaj politički motivisan, kako bi se domaćoj publici u Srbiji pokazalo da su i pripadnici drugih naroda takođe optuženi za ratne zločine. Haški tribunal je istraživao ovaj slučaj, ali nije nastavio sa gonjenjem. Osim toga, postoji problem u tome da Srbija tuži Ganića za navodne ratne zločine počinjene u Bosni (koja je u to vreme bila međunarodno priznata). Dok su neke od žrtava bili Srbi iz Srbije, a i sam Ganić je rođen u Srbiji, zločin je pre svega odgovornost Odeljenja za ratne zločine Tužilaštva Bosne i Hercegovine.

Ovaj incident se već negativno odrazio na odnose između Bosne i Hercegovine i Srbije, a usledio je nakon nedavnog poboljšanja odnosa nakon posredovanja Turske, zahvaljujući kojem su obe zemlje ponovo razmenile ambasadore nakon višegodišnjeg održavanja odnosa na nivou otpravnika poslova, jer je Srbija odbijala da prihvati bosanske kandidate za ambasadorsku poziciju u Srbiji. Incident je takođe usledio nakon što je Predsednik Srbije, Boris Tadić, potvrdio podršku Srbije teritorijalnom integritetu Bosne, što je od strane mnogih protumačeno kao napor da se zauzdaju nacionalističke izjave Milorada Dodika. Pored toga, u Srbiji se vodi diskusija o usvajanju rezolucije u parlamentu kojo bi se osudio genocid u Srebrenici. Naposletku, zahtev za istragom i izručenjem podriva sporazum o pravnoj saradnji koji je potpisan između Srbije i Bosne i Hercegovine pre svega nekoliko dana. Sporazum nastoji da onemogući kriminalcima da izbegnu kazne prelaskom granice u Srbiju ili Bosnu, ili skrivanjem iza dvojnog državljanstva. Mnogo dobre volje i napredak koji je ostvaren u poslednjih nekoliko meseci ovim su hapšenjem uništeni.

Međutim, ono što je još značajnije je mogući negativan uticaj na samu Bosnu i Hercegovinu. Hapšenje i slučaj će poslužiti kao dobrodošla municija u predizbornoj kampanji u Bosni. Opšti izbori su u oktobru – i dok srpski političari izražavaju svoju razočaranost državnim institucijama koje su stale u odbranu Ganića, bošnjački političari optužuju Srbiju da vodi istu bitku kao i tokom rata. Hapšenje, stoga, vraća sećanja na rat i nespojive političke ciljeve, što će samo pomoći nacionalistima na nastupajućim izborima.

Nisam siguran da li Srbija ima dovoljno hrabrosti ili volje da zaista izvede Ganića pred sud. Slučaj je dosta slab, tako da će Ganić ili biti osuđen uz jasno kompromitovanje pravde, što bi u međunarodnom kontekstu potkopalo domaće istrage ratnih zločina i Srbiju, ili će biti oslobođen, što će u samoj zemlji oslabiti značaj suda. Dakle, ako ga Velika Britanija na kraju oslobodi ili ga ’izruči’ Bosni i Hercegovini, Srbija je pobedila. Vlasti će tada moći da još jednom potvrde kako su pripadnici ne-srspke nacionalnosti u mogućnosti da izbegnu pravdu, ali i da Srbija pokušava sve što je u njenoj moći, te da može da dođe do njih čak i u Velikoj Britaniji, za razliku od tvrdnji Vlade kada je u pitanju Kosovo.

Florian Bieber je Predavač na predmetu Istočnoevropska politika na Odseku za politiku i međunarodne odnose Univerziteta u Kentu, Kenterberi, Velika Britanija.

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