Political elites have figured out what is to be done, following an old recipe from Sicily. They are slowly but surely infiltrating their people into the police and justice systems. And for those who offer resistance – blackmail, bribery, media harangue will follow.
Recently, the Zenica Museum gave the former synagogue building to the Jewish community for use. This was an opportunity to remind the forgetful and inform the younger generations that the most valuable pieces from the museum were looted during the war. Those from the building of the former madrasa, especially in the National Liberation War, were thrown in landfills. In 1996, I made a documentary on this, ‘Mouth full of gunpowder.’ The initial investigation was diluted by the realisation that SDA members were behind it. Some actors have passed away, and everything has become obsolete in legal terms anyway.
‘Dear Tito’, I thought, ’25 years later and I am still writing about the same crime.”
There were indications that rule of law would be established in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 18 years ago, the state police, prosecutor’s office and the court were formed. Foreigners in these institutions were supposed to establish a new generation of ‘law enforcement officers’, unencumbered by political influence.
There was a dose of panic within the party cartels due to the proclaimed emergence of a lawful state. Several arrests of political leaders gave people the right to think that no one is untouchable. But no one came close to seeing the inside of a prison cell. Political elites have figured out what is to be done, following an old recipe from Sicily. They are slowly but surely infiltrating their people into the police and justice systems. And for those who offer resistance – blackmail, bribery, media harangue will follow.
Party “capo dei capi” become judges and prosecutors, hold employment bureaus, are public procurement dealers, masters of life and death. There are no vaccines against the virus today unless they say so.
I once saw indictments against two party leaders in the prosecutor’s offices, one of which still active, and heard the prosecutor’s announcement that they would be published soon. That day never came. I have thousands of pages of investigative material, minutes and transcripts of (lawfully) wiretapped conversations. There is no doubt about the involvement of actors in criminal affairs. I will run you through where some of them are today. With purified biographies, we have a professor of criminology, there are ministers, state and entity members of parliament, chief executives of public companies, advisers to the prime minister, judges.
The recent flood of empathy towards a convict who stole a few forest trees to keep his family warm should come as no surprise. I myself felt sorry for the director who was accused of hiring an individual for two months, which was supposed to serve as evidence that our legal system works. All the while, local ruling parties exist on the basis of general, shameless party employment, nepotism and all kinds of illegalities.
The editorial staff of the Žurnal news portal is overflowed by letters, cries for help from ‘small people’ on the daily – often because they do not agree to be accomplices in crime, ie a part of the system, which they are then punished for in various ways. The search for the truth about the murders of two young men, David Dragicevic and Dzenan Memic, is a lonely example of perseverance in trying to uncover political-police-prosecutor conspiracies to protect murderers and those they work for.
It’s not an easy task in a criminalised system, while the non-corrupt and conscientious part of the judiciary remains silent. Fewer and fewer people are prepared for an uncompromising fight for the truth, for justice.
The degradation of the judicial system corresponds to the establishment and legitimization of the monopoly by the ruling political elite. These kind of emerging political dynasties, from the ranks of the SDA, HDZ BiH and SNSD, abolish the rule of law and instead entrench their right to rule.
That’s why the systemic degradation of education is no coincidence. Increasingly uneducated young generations are genetically instilled the view that a state in which lawlessness, bribery, corruption, fraud, and lies are tolerated is in fact the “new normal”!
Amarildo Gutic, journalist in the online magazine Zurnal. Multiple award winner for documentaries and pieces on corruption and crime.