Lessons from Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina must be learned to prevent future aggressions

Дата: 26 October 2023 Автор: Denis Zvizdić
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On October 24, 2023, the Czech Parliament hosted the Second Parliamentary Summit of the International Crimean Platform with representatives from 51 countries of the world.

Participants of the Platform expressed their intention to support the provision of political, diplomatic, military, security, financial, humanitarian and other forms of assistance to Ukraine, as well as to support Ukraine on its path toward EU membership.

ZMINA publishes the speech of Denis Zvizdić, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the Second Parliamentary Summit of the Crimean Platform.

It is often said that the Russian aggression against Ukraine began in February 2022, but in my opinion, it is not accurate. The aggression against Ukraine formally began in 2014 with the occupation and annexation of Crimea as an integral part of Ukraine’s territory.

I will not use this speech to reiterate the well-known facts about everything that happened after the aggression. The entire world witnesses the heroic struggle of the Ukrainian people for freedom and survival.

I will take this opportunity to present the experience of my country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which also just 30 years ago was subject to aggression by the neighboring state, and to express three important messages.

First, it is essential for the international community to continue providing military, economic, and other assistance to Ukraine. I hope the lesson has been learned from the horrendous experience of Bosnia and Herzegovina, when an embargo on the importance of weapons was imposed, denying us the right to defend, while the world turned a blind eye to the terrible crimes committed against them, including genocide in Srebrenica. We must not allow something similar to happen in Ukraine or any other part of the world.

Second, it is necessary to establish an international tribunal for the prosecution of all war crimes committed on the territory of Ukraine as soon as possible. A similar tribunal was established to prosecute war crimes committed during the Yugoslav Wars. The tribunal will clearly define who the war criminals were and who were the people who fought honorably for the freedom and sovereignty of their homeland.

Third, the world is currently facing a series of global challenges. World War II was supposed to be the last world war, but the war happened in the heart of Europe, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the end of the 20th century.

We must be aware that it can happen again. Because of that, we all need to condemn every attack by any internationally recognized state. By doing so, we protect ourselves and our right to freedom.

As you know, the international order today is based on two principles. First, the principles of inviolability of borders, and second, the principles of respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty of internationally recognized states.

Last but not least, I am proud of the support that my country has extended to Ukraine, through financial assistance and voting in the UN General Assembly. We are a small country. The area of Ukraine is 12 times larger than that of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but this is about symbolism. If we don’t stand up for the freedom and democracy in every part of the world, we will not be able to advocate for these values in our own country. 
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