In my whole life, I have never seen a contract sloppier than the one our state has made with informants. It is not known, or at least I cannot figure out, who is the other signatory: is the Republic of Serbia addressing its citizens, or the offer includes the entire world?
I have already written about the fact that I would not feel comfortable if I were to accidentally, on a completely amateur level and without personal gain, see the missing general, hide in the shadow of a doorframe, like Orson Wells, and dial 9191 from my cell phone. And then suddenly, as if I won in ten “Who wants to be a millionaire” shows, my country would pay me the promised sum, place me, as a guinea pig, into the witness protection program – because, being such a rich traitor in Serbia is not a very comfortable position.
It would feel improper to earn I don’t know how many teacher’s or doctor’s salaries thanks to chance – that comedian, or maybe luck. Should I simply take the money this Government could use to cover 12-13 consular messes (I will not mention Miladin’s name: we gave the money not because of Miladin, but because of the incomprehensible affability of our US consulate)? I believe that the money must go to true bounty hunters, people who invested something into this honorable job, who have mastered martial arts, who know how to read tracks …
In order to find a man who has been evading secret and non-secret police and army forces for years, you need a lot of things:
Binoculars, GPS, wiretapping device, SUV, bulletproof vest, sleeping bag, mosquito repellent, handcuffs, a cloth soaked in chloroform to knock out the fugitive if you can creep up to him behind his back, a revolver, duct tape for the target’s mouth, so he cannot wake up his bodyguards or shout obscenities when bounty hunters catch him, a Zippo lighter, a tent, a rifle, teargas, a bottle of water, booze, antidote for snake bites, miner’s lamp to be able to walk through caves, abandoned mines and peek into pits filled with quicklime, a pony, two sherpa guides.
Before all this, you need associates who are able to figure out all familial, fraternal, military and other connections the fugitive has, in order for the abovementioned equipment to be of some use in the field, which means that what you need here is a team.
When we think about a bounty hunter, we still envisage him as a former gambler from a western movie, who has been prohibited from playing poker in several states and now uses his gunslinging talents to quickly and legally acquire a hefty sum. How many times have we seen this servant of the law appearing on the horizon, riding his horse, with his dead client slung over the second horse, the one he took with him exactly for this purpose? Or, in some scenes, he would have used the dead man’s horse to transport him to the sheriff’s office. But in those movies, fugitives were sought “dead or alive”, and bounty hunters found it easier to just shoot them, while here, the fugitives are citizens who are supposed to stand lengthy trials, thus they must not be even grazed.
Since the task surpasses the capabilities of one individual, we have to wait for a team to come from any part of the world. This tender, let us call it that, will be more successful if experts from all around the world decide to participate. However – Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Djelic Boza won’t even consider it!!! Tanjug announced that bounty hunters do not operate in Serbia, headhunter and bounty hunter associations will not be allowed to search for Hague indictees on Serbian soil.
When the late Hitler, I believe during the attack on Drvar, offered a reward of around 100.000 Reichsmarks for Tito’s head, he did not insist that the money goes into the hands of Arians. On the contrary, he counted more on the greed of others, that is, the local population. But after all, he was a German, and a Machiavellian at that: the end justifies the means.
We are different.
Really, what would it look like if a group of foreigners managed to do something that hundreds of our professionals were not able to do for years? These foreigners would embarrass us; our ears would ring for the next two years after they slapped us on the face, and that embarrassment and the ringing in our ears would cost us ten million Euros, tax free!
On the other hand, if the reward has a national character, if it is intended only for the citizens of Serbia, why hasn’t it been advertised as such? “Betray our own” is not a very good slogan, but maybe something similar, “Let us be the traitors and make those money lovers from other countries go green with envy…”
However, not even the advertisement will be sufficient until the Rulebook on the reward is adopted. When you want to ensure you house or take a loan for your car, there are more paragraphs than in this indecent offer, where one man, if he is lucky enough and reports both the general and the warehouse clerk, can earn eleven million Euros.
And here is the Rulebook:
In the Republic of Serbia, everybody has the right to report and be reported. A citizen of Serbia has the right to report several other citizens, and a group of citizens has the right to report the same citizen (see article 4)
1. The Republic of Serbia is opening a competition for the noblest acchivement of 2010/2011.
2. The noblest achievement is the tip on the precise longitude and latitude of Hague indictees Mladic Ratko and Hadzic Goran.
3. For information on the first person mentioned in Article 2, the person providing the information will be paid ten million Euros in unmarked 50 Euro bills. Reward for information on the second person mentioned in Article 2 is one million Euros.
4. If more than one citizen reports the first fugitive, the second fugitive or both fugitives, the appropriate sum from Article 3 is equally divided amongst those citizens.
5. A citizen who has already reported one fugitive does not have the right to the award if he reports the other one: this Article encourages the citizens to first locate and report the first mentioned fugitive, who is not ten times more expensive only by chance.
6. All citizens of the Republic of Serbia, regardless of sex, race, religion, sexual preferences or age have the right to report and be awarded the above-mentioned sum(s) of money.
7. A citizen of another country has the right to report and be awarded the above-mentioned sum(s) of money if he or she has been married to a citizen of Serbia for more than 10 years.
8. A citizen of another country has the right to report and be awarded the above-mentioned sum(s) of money if he or she was born on the territory of the Republic of Serbia.
9. A citizen of another country has the right to report and be awarded the above-mentioned sum(s) of money if his or her: a) at least one parent is Serbian; b) both grandmothers are Serbian; c) both grandfathers are Serbian; d) grandmother on the mothers side is Serbian and grandfather on the fathers is also Serbian; e) grandfather on the mothers side in Serbian and grandmother on the fathers side is Serbian and f) if all eight great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers were citizens of the Kingdom of Serbia or the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians.
10. Citizen can report the fugitives by phone, telegraph, text message or in person at any police station or BIA safe house.
11. If the exchange rate of Euro at the time of reporting is under one hundred Dinars, the Republic of Serbia will pay the (exchange rate) difference in Dinars.
12. Foreign nationals are not allowed to participate in competition from Article 1.
13. A foreign national caught searching for citizens from Article 2 will be charged with belittling the reputation of the Republic of Serbia which has its own army and police force.
14. Perpetrator from Article 13 of this Rulebook can be sentenced to prison sentence of no more than two years, followed by extradition and prohibition from entering Serbia for the period of no less than 15 and no more than 80 years.
What message did our Government send to the European Union and the US when it decided to pay such a handsome sum? That it is investing ten times the effort, and in the case of Goran Hadzic, four times the effort (or is it just double… no one really knows for sure how much one could earn until recently by reporting the amiable Hadzic) into brining the fugitives to justice!?! Except for the phone number and the unrealistic sum, the Government said nothing, not about the technique of reporting or about the steps the laureate would have to take: who can vouch that he would remain anonymous, who would protect him from revengeful patriots and greedy extortionists, would he have to pay tax on the prize, like in the case of lottery and sports betting, what is the opinion of the Holy Mother regarding these silver coins, and where does SANU stand… And when, I would say, the rumor spread through Serbia that the dogs of war, hardcore hunters and soulless yet efficient money seekers are coming, then, suddenly, the sanctity of our territory and the reputation of our police and army became more important to us than the goal for which we promised 11 million Euros, 25% of the price of that spy satellite.
Translated by Bojana Obradovic