Another historical day that will have changed many things has come to pass. The Hague tribunal has issued a judgement according to which our country, Serbia, did intentionally through its army and police perpetrate horrible crimes in Kosovo. The list of our country’s sins moves from systematic planned deportations to mass murders committed in the course of March 1999. It is astonishing to what an extent this aspect of the verdict is being overlooked by the media, for which the main news is that [Milan] Milutinović has been freed and is taking a regular JAT flight home.

The prime minister [Predrag Cvetković], seemingly irretrievable until yesterday, declared that the verdicts against Nikola Šainović, Nebojša Pavković and the others were draconian. Rasim Ljajić said that the high prison sentences will further lower the Hague tribunal’s prestige among the Serbs. [Ivica] Dačić and the Radicals defend their brothers in crime, proving once more that the unknown author of Mahabharata was right when he wrote several thousand years ago that a surviving enemy is like a fire that has not been extinguished or a debt that has not been paid – it only grows with time.

Some have asked the pretty stupid question of whether the non-guilty verdict against Milan Milutinović will influence the decision of the International Court of Justice in the case of the proclamation of Kosovo’s independence. The winning question is: what do you think, how can the Hague verdict that the state of Serbia was deliberately and in a planned manner deporting the Albanian population – ordering it to leave and creating a state of terror in order to force it to leave – influence the ICJ’s decision? In the years to come we shall live the consequences of this sentence, and will not be helped by pretending that it was not pronounced or that it is less important than the name of the airline that is bringing Milutinović home.

The part of the verdict which says that our country, Serbia, has through its highest state, military and police officials organised and implemented a criminal undertaking has terrible implications for all of us. Those who do not know this are twice shamed, as the world reminds us once again what freaks we are. This part of the verdict has also opened possibilities for the Albanians to file new charges, and has reduced those of Serbia before the ICJ. This is clear to all except to our permanently smiling chatterbox of a foreign minister [Vuk Jeremić] and his narcissistic mentor [Serbian president Boris Tadić}.

Jeremić said a few days ago that the ICJ decision on the illegality of Kosovo’s declaration of independence formed the centre of gravity of his and Tadić’s diplomatic activity, and that once the court declares in our favour Kosovo will be paralysed and unable to move left or right. Everything will then depend on Serbia, i.e. on him and his mentor. I do not think that yesterday’s verdict will sway minister Jeremić. Nothing ever sways the dumb – their stupidity does not have a space through which a logical thought might worm its way. The minister flies from one end of the world to the other, and practises in the mirror of one or other television station the struggle for territorial integrity and sovereignty. The man is tireless, a pioneering diplomat, which is what worries me. Someone has said that the dumb can be much more dangerous than the criminal, because criminals sometimes tire of doing evil things and must have a break, whereas stupidity refreshes the dumb individual – he feels comfortable and relaxed in his stupidity as if in a nest.

But one day the minister, or the president of Serbia, will have to accept responsibility for what their predecessors did in Kosovo.

A few days ago the state council – France’s supreme constitutional court – recognised the French government’s responsibility for the deportation of Jews during the Second World War. Between 1942 and 1944 the collaborator Pétain had 76,000 Jews arrested and transported to the Nazi camps; of whom only 3,000 survived. This decision had been preceded by an admission on the part of Jacques Chirac in 1995 that the French state had taken part in the deportation of Jews. With this admission, Chirac made a break with the tradition that sought to separate France from the collaborationist Vichy regime. This opened the way, of course, for the victims’ families to demand and win millions of euros in compensation from the French state. All French paid this compensation, including those whose parents died fighting against Pétain and his fascist allies.

We shall have to do the same, sooner or later, probably later. We may be able to avoid the payment, but the children who these days are using the last few scraps of snow to make a snowman will not.

Translated by Bosnian Institute, 28.02.2009.

Pešč, 04.03.2009.