The complexity of relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Serbia is culminating these days after the arrest of former BiH Army member and senior official in the Federal Police, Edin Vranj in Serbia over the accusation that he is war crime suspect.
Relations between these two countries have almost never been settled, and the biggest burden is the attitude towards the past and the denial of Serbia’s responsibility for what happened in the1990s. But, below there is an explanation of what kind of relationship rollercoaster it was in the last year.
The first country to donate larger quantities of vaccines to BiH was Serbia, and during that process, there was a festive atmosphere at the airport. At that time, courteous messages were sent about the necessity of mutual assistance, better economic cooperation and investments. Then the citizens of BiH rushed to the unconditional vaccination of their choice anywhere in Serbia, and at a time when our country did not have enough vaccines, that open door meant a lot to many.
As soon as the story and criticism of the domestic authorities were reduced due to untimely procurement of vaccines, and when BiH, and especially some lower levels such as CantonSarajevo, exchanged bouquets of flowers with gratitude to Serbia, topics that essentially create a barrier in relations between the two countries appeared.
Dozens of suspected war criminals and fugitives from BiH are hiding and living freely in Serbia. Serbia does not arrest or send them to court, nor does it respect the cooperation agreement when it comes to war crimes cases. Such an attitude towards the past is a huge stumbling block in improving relations with BiH.
And while the story about the escape of Milomir Savcic to Serbia, who was suspected of genocide in Srebrenica, has not yet settled down, a new cold shower followed. Edin Vranj, a BiH citizen, was arrested in Priboj, just a hundred meters after crossing the state border. In BiH, the report against him was rejected and the case was closed, and precisely because of that rejection of the investigation, Serbia is arresting him. He is suspected of an alleged war crime against prisoners in Gorazde, Klix.ba writes.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs raises the bar to a higher level and warns all citizens who defended BiH in the war not to go to Serbia, as a precaution. There is also a famous list of potential suspects of several thousand, more precisely a list of those against whom a criminal report has been filed for an alleged war crime. Vranj was not on that list, and he was arrested. What message was sent to the other defenders by this move?