Bosnia: Ex presidency member slams idea of a third entity

NEWS 15.11.2018 14:29
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Source: N1

Creation of a third, Croat entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be a “catastrophe” for the Croats but also for the other two groups, Ivo Komsic, a Bosnian Croat member of the presidency of war-time Bosnia and Herzegovina, told N1 on Wednesday.

Komsic took part in the negotiations in Dayton, Ohio, that eventually produced the peace agreement that ended Bosnia’s 1992-95 war. It divided the country into two semi-autonomous regions, one dominated by the Bosnian Serbs, the other shared by Bosniaks and the country’s Croats.

Ever since 1993, Croats wanted their own region, which they envisioned would be located in the south-west of the country where the majority of Bosnian Croats live.

During the war, such a political entity existed and was called Herzeg-Bosnia. But a peace agreement that ended the Bosniak-Croat war in 1994, the Washington agreement, made it legally disappear.

However, Bosnian Croat nationalists, mainly represented by the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) and their leader Dragan Covic, still seek to revive the idea of a Croat-majority territorial unit within the country.

Komsic gave two explanations of why the HDZ BiH is “insisting on the revival of Herzeg-Bosnia.”

The HDZ BiH needs it to justify its historical position in the 1990’s, he said. However, that position was “negative and had its epilogue in The Hague,” Komsic said, referring to several verdicts the war crimes tribunal had handed down.

“It has convicted that project as a joint criminal enterprise” which late Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and several of his aides took part in, Komsic said.

“This has been confirmed in a legal procedure. How are they going to wash their hands of that?” Komsic asked.

Further fragmentation of Bosnia and Herzegovina through the establishment of a separate entity for Croats “would be a catastrophe for the Croats but also for the other two nations. Every separatism leads to destruction.”

Another reason for trying to revive Herzeg-Bosnia may be that a consequence of it would be the creation of a “ghetto for Muslims,” he said.

“They never gave up on this basic idea from the 1990’s – that Bosnia and Herzegovina should be divided among the Serbs and the Croats and that the Bosniaks should choose what they want to be – Serbs or Croats,” Komsic said.

When he asked at the time what if the Bosniaks say they do not want to be Serbs or Croats, the president of Herzeg-Bosnia at the time, late Mate Boban, told him: “We will kill those who refuse. That’s what Mate Boban told me. I rejected it,” Komsic said.

Komsic said that the idea to divide the country is now being pursued politically and that the HDZ BiH, as well as neighbouring Croatia, are advocating for it through changes in the country’s Election Law.

“The goal is to somehow create a Croat electoral unit under the disguise of protection of national interest. And a Croat electoral unit takes us straight to a third entity. And a third entity is the revival of Herzeg-Bosnia,” Komsic explained.

An election based on ethnicity is undemocratic, he said.

“If this would be established as a principle – to divide voters by their ethnicity – then Europe will collapse,” Komsic concluded.

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