Update No: 156 -
Every sensible suitor
knows when to press his suit
Serbia is incredibly keen to join the EU.
But it is far from sure that this is the
right moment to press the matter.
Its greatest advocate is Greece, hardly in
the best books of Brussels right now,
being a possible candidate for being
evicted from the Euro zone.
The European option is still the ultimate
one for Belgrade; and one that Brussels
knows full well is the best guarantee for
stability in the Balkans. Serbia has an
excellent chance of joining the EU. But it
must bide its time for the while.
Serbian Foreign minister Yuk Jeremić said
that Serbia has shown good will and he
hopes that the countries of the region
will show the same at the EU-Western
Balkans summit in Sarajevo on June 2,
adding that he hopes the summit will be “a
strong signal for the EU that the region
has matured and is ready to cooperate,
The past is not quite over; the future
is at hand
Someone is still protecting the greatest
European war criminal alive, although
there are various contenders for that. In
a very important development, Serbia has
given the International Criminal Tribunal
for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) the
personal war diaries of Republika Srpska
General Ratko Mladic, who was the supreme
commander of the Army of Republika Srpska
(VRS) during the 1991-1992 Bosnian War.
Serbian authorities confiscated the war
diaries from his wife, Bosiljka Mladic,
during a raid of her apartment in
The Serb authorities found 18 hand-written
diaries that contain 3,500 pages spanning
the time period of 29 June 1991 to 28
November 1996, and according to the
Prosecution, "...'constitute a significant
volume of new evidence.'" Republika Srpska
General Manojlo Milovanovic, who was
Mladic's deputy, "...identified them as
having been written by Mladic, saying that
the general took notes during every
meeting he attended."
"Among others topics, the diaries contain
notes from the meeting of the Supreme
Command of the VRS from 15 August 1993
regarding sanctions being threatened by
the international community in relation to
the situation in Sarajevo; notes about
military plans in Sarajevo and Goražde;
and notes about Mladic's meeting with
senior international peacekeepers
concerning the treatment of Srebrenica's
Copies of parts of the diaries were
published late last year by Belgrade daily
Blic and Sarajevo weekly Slobodna Bosna.
They showed that Mladic often met Serbian
officials and that he arranged military
shipments from the former Soviet Union via
Serbia during the war in Bosnia."
Former Serbian President Slobodan
Miloševic had claimed that Serbia had no
involvement with the war in Bosnia and
Herzegovina; information contained in
Mladic's diaries are said to prove
otherwise. The Prosecution plans to use
evidence gained in Mladic's diaries
against former Republika Srpska President
Radovan Karadžic, who is currently on
trial in the Hague for war crimes and
crimes against humanity.
Mladic is accused by the ICTY of eleven
counts of war crimes: two counts of
genocide, five counts of crimes against
humanity, three counts of violations of
the laws and customs of war, and one count
of grave violations of the Geneva
Conventions, as well as the unlawful
transfer of civilians due to religious or
national identity. Ratko Mladic together
with Radovan Karadžic, "...was a key
member of an overarching joint criminal
enterprise the objective of which was the
permanent removal of Bosnian Muslims and
Croats from the territory in Bosnia and
Herzegovina that Bosnian Serbs claimed for
He is currently at-large, but believed to
be hiding in somewhere in Serbia. The
arrest of Mladic is a key condition of
Serbia's bid to join the European Union.
A new nation - Kosovo
Meanwhile, however galling to Serbian
pride, a new nation is forming out of its
midst, before the due nuptials with the
West. An historic day happened in 2008.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia
on February 17 of that year, ending a long
chapter in the bloody breakup of
Yugoslavia. This was the logical
conclusion to the war of 1998-99.
The proclamation was made by leaders of
the breakaway province's 90 percent ethnic
Albanian majority, including former
guerrillas who fought for independence in
a 1998-99 war which claimed about 10,000
Belgrade bitterly opposes the secession.
Backed by Russia, Serbs vow never to give
up the territory, in which their history
goes back 1,000 years.
But the West supports the demand of
Kosovo's 2 million ethnic Albanians for
their own state, a decade after NATO went
to war to save them from Serbian forces.
Kosovo is the sixth state carved from the
former Serbian-dominated Yugoslav
federation since 1991, after Slovenia,
Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Montenegro.