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Armenia's path to penance: Serbs showing the right way

07 April 2010 [07:00] - TODAY.AZ
On March 31, the Serbian parliament adopted a resolution condemning the massacre of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995, apologizing to victims' families. The Serbs did not mention the word "genocide" in the document, although the U.N. International Court and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has indeed labeled these events as such. However, although it is not in the wording, this is an act of repentance.

About 8,000 Muslims were executed under the leadership of Ratko Mladic in military operations conducted by Bosnian Serbs. Mladic, who the ICTY accuses of genocide, is wanted and hiding in Serbia. The country's parliament has promised to continue to cooperate with the ICTY, so that Mladic was arrested and tried.

As reported by international agencies, a resolution condemning the Srebrenica massacre was one of the steps taken by Serbia to join the EU. The EU called cooperation with the ICTY one of the main conditions for obtaining the status of a candidate country for membership in organization. Serbia submitted a membership application in December 2009 in hope to become a candidate in 2011.

As is well known, the Srebrenica genocide is one of two crimes against humanity that former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is accused of committing. After the war in the Balkans, he was on the run and detained in the summer of 2008.

Serbia apologized. It opted for a civilian path to become more humane. Sentiment has nothing to do with this decision. Belgrade needs to join the EU. Former Serbian leaders are being tried and will be tried for crimes against humanity.

The path from mass schizophrenia and barbarism to civilization is obvious. There is a need for courts and also pressure from international organizations. There is a need to understand one’s own past and to forecast a better future. Only in such a case, a country glorifying criminals and promoting them as national heroes can choose the path of reconciliation and repentance, extradite offenders and apologize to the relatives of victims...

Armenians committed genocide against Azerbaijan in Khojaly on the night of Feb. 25, 1992. After a while, they understood that they had committed a criminal act and began to blame the Azerbaijanis for everything under the sun.

Some 15 years ago, the Serbs could not imagine that they would admit to these horrid crimes in the future. I think this prececent will help our Armenian neighbors. I think Armenians need to sober up.

The truth must be realized, since the national reconciliation of the Armenians and Azerbaijanis is directly linked with the liberation of the occupied territories, and also the recognition and repentance of the Khojaly genocide, the most heinous crime of the Karabakh conflict.

It will be very hard for the "virtuous Christian" Armenia to make this step. This will require breaking many stereotypes. Only in such an event will we be able to live together and honestly look in each other’s eyes.

Of course, Armenia needs help in its repentance. Work is underway and must continue. We must help Armenia to take Serbia's path. The matter should be taken to court and the international community should step up its efforts in this regard.

Armenia should arrest the organizers of such massacres. This country, which claims to be civil, cannot praise people whose hands are stained with civilian blood. Sargsyan, Kocharyan, Melkonyan and Ter-Tadevosyan are not heroes, but rather monsters who should be tried for their cruel misdeeds. Moreover, Sargsyan and Kocharyan killed not only Azerbaijani civilians, but also Armenian civilians.

Sargsyan admitted in an interview with Thomas de Waal that the "Khojaly operation" was carried out to intimidate the Azerbaijanis. Similarly, the "Operation on March 1" in Yerevan was conducted to intimidate the Armenians.

Armenian society needs to understand the irreversibility of this process, to get rid of their fear, to rid themselves of their junta, and to realize their potential if they accede to mankind. In such an event, the path to repentance will be much shorter.

Kanan Guluzade
Day.Az writer

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