General Jovan Divjak, Savior of Sarajevo, released – on bail


In the name of Serbian chauvinism, Bosnia was attacked, destroyed and divided by military forces. Tens of thousands of Bosnian men, women and children were wounded, raped, locked up in camps or massacred. More than two million people were made refugees or otherwise displaced.

Rather than processing this sad national past, rather than turning the war criminals over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague, Belgrade concentrates on issuing new arrest warrants to persecute those who courageously took a stand to resist genocide and expulsion. General Divjak, released this afternoon on bail, was widely decorated in Italy, France, and Germany, receiving for example the Victor Gollancz Award from the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP). The arrest of this human rights activist, who has established a large aid organization for the youth of Bosnia, was an outrage. His release on bail is only the first step, albeit a positive one, in righting this wrong.

We welcome the explicit declaration from Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger yesterday, asserting that General Jovan Divjak (Ret.) would by no means be extradited to Serbia. We thank the media and citizens of Austria for their efforts in calling for Divjak's release. And we bear in mind the thousands of Austrians who took part in aid campaigns during and after the war, when Sarajevo was under siege, and Bosnia under threat.