Shijal ChudasamaJanuary 11, 2023

Bosnians: World ignores banned Serb secessionist parade

Bosnians: World ignores banned Serb secessionist parade

The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina conducted an academic event titled "January 9 - the path to genocide" in the national theatre a few kilometers away as Bosnian Serb police forces paraded in East Sarajevo on Monday in observance of the illegal "Republika Srpska Day."

Almasa Salihovic, 35, a survivor of the Srebrenica genocide, said while Serb-led Bosnians spoke of their pride in Republika Srpska (RS) as their sole homeland, other Bosnians remembered their sense of loss on January 9, 1992, a day that for them "marked the route to the deadliest years of the conflict."

Salihovic said, "At the forum, we heard messages that practically every year citizens who want a full Bosnia send: that marking January 9 is illegal, it's a threat to peace, and it's putting salt in the still-open wounds of victims.

"That would be fine if they were celebrating a people. However, they are commemorating a day when Radovan Karadzic, a [convicted war criminal], led a group of political figures who knowingly chose to establish genocidal objectives against a number of Bosnian citizens. It's terrible to consider whether these same aspirations will materialize in the future if the Serb people cannot perceive this, she said.

The procession commemorating the day, which thousands of RS police participated in on Monday, was declared unconstitutional by the Bosnian Constitutional Court.

Despite the fact that the court first outlawed the celebration in 2015 due to its discriminatory nature toward the 1.2 million non-Serb residents of the entity, RS officials have continued to observe the day as a public holiday each year.

The Bosnian Serb legislature declared the area to be an independent "Republic of Serb people of Bosnia and Herzegovina" on January 9, 1992, with the intention of uniting the country's self-declared Serb territories with Serbia.

As Croat and Serb forces sought to split up the nation into Greater Croatia and Greater Serbia, respectively, the action sparked the Bosnian War, which resulted in 100,000 deaths and a genocide in Srebrenica.

The conflict came to an end with the signing of the US-mediated Dayton Peace Agreement in December 1995, which divided the nation into two semi-autonomous parts: the RS entity, which has a Serb majority and makes up about half of the country, and the Federation entity, which is home to the majority of Bosniaks and Croats.

The police being in the center of these marches, according to political analyst Jasmin Mujanovic, is a "direct call back" to the Bosnian massacre.

RS police were "the main organizing hub for managing the initial hostile takeovers, distribution of guns arriving from Serbia, first executions and expulsions," he claimed in a post on social media about the entity's past as a breakaway territory.

Armoured vehicles blocked down the key routes connecting the city, Sarajevo, which is located in the Federation entity, to East Sarajevo on Monday during the event, which is effectively a military display.

Senior representatives from the governments of RS and Serbia were there, including Milorad Dodik, the president of the separatist Republika Srpska, and Ivica Dacic, the foreign minister of Serbia.

In attendance were visitors included the sons of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and convicted war criminal Ratko Mladic.

Dodik has persisted in advocating secession for years. He desires the unification of RS and neighboring Serbia.

Dodik was quoted by Radio Free Europe as saying, "We're not doing this out of spite, rather to show that we are ready to fight for our freedom."

The anthems of Serbia and the Republika Srpska were played during the march, according to the news source.

Participants in the march included local members of the Russian motorcycle gang Night Wolves, which the US has accused of supporting a separatist movement among the nation's Serbs.

Flags of the Moscow-backed self-declared Donetsk People's Republic in Ukraine were also being raised by people.

The previous day, Dodik presented Putin with the highest medal of honor in absentia for his "patriotic concern" for RS in a sign of never-better relations with Russia despite its conflict in Ukraine.

Bosnians: World ignores banned Serb secessionist parade
Republika Srpska police forces march in East Sarajevo during an illegal parade marking the 31st anniversary of Republika Srpska's founding [Armin Durgut/AP Photo]
Bosnians: World ignores banned Serb secessionist parade
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