Author and cardiologist Svetlana Broz, grand-daughter of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, statesman
of the former Yugoslavia, treated many casualties during the Bosnian conflict. euronews journalist Lesley Alexander interviewed her in Sarajevo by videolink from Lyon.
Lesley Alexander: Fifteen years after Srebrenica, which has been widely condemned as an act of genocide by international courts, how deep are the psychological scars of the Bosnian people?
Svetlana Broz: The scars are still very deep indeed. We have roughly three groups of people here in Bosnia: victims, perpetrators and bystanders. Victims are usually unable to heal and move on from the past, something that is made worse by the fact that many perpetrators remain at large and are often in a position of authority. Perpetrators are perfectly happy to remain in deep denial. Bystanders, who never act, today contribute greatly with their inaction to the stagnation of the current situation.
euronews: With war crimes suspects still at large, notably Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military commander indicted over Srebrenica, how does this unfinished business affect the healing process?
Broz: We have not started any substantial healing process because of this fact, but even worse is that millions of people in Republika Srpska and Serbia consider Mladic to be a war hero. Serbia being granted visa-free travel to the EU was essentially a reward for hiding Mladic and the fact that it is closer to EU integration than Bosnia, with all of its still unhealed wounds, is both unfair and absurd.
euronews: Regarding reconciliation, does Bosnia’s hugely complex political system help or hinder the process of bringing people together?
Broz: This kind of system can only freeze the situation in Bosnia and cannot help the process of reconciliation. That is why we cannot talk about reconciliation on a vast scale or on the level of the whole Balkan region. So we should work on dealing with those who deny what happened and with those who would like to work on the future without thinking about the past, otherwise it cannot work.
In Bosnia, people lived together before the war. Today they are divided by the constitution, politicians and clergy, who are almost all using intimidation as a means of maintaining their power and influence. The highly complex political system supports politicians and hinders the process of integrating people so we cannot talk about serious reconciliation at a macro or national level.