The crimes committed on September 11 2001 in New York and Washington DC, took thousands of innocent lives and brought up the issue of common responsibility for combating terrorist activity throughout the world, including the Balkans.
Remindful of the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the scope of combating terrorism, we point to the inseparable link between a successful suppression of terrorism and respect for human rights and the improvement of people’s living conditions. The statement relies on the findings of a regional research on Terrorism and organized crime as a security challenge in Western Balkans, carried out by the Forum, with the help of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund from New York.
– The Western Balkans, especially Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo have suffered grave armed conflicts, confirming the existence of a direct link between organized crime and political extremism, violence and terrorism. State or para-state institutions, led by politicians with obscene obsession with nationalistic, ideological or religious extremism, do not hesitate to resort to terrorist methods to achieve their goals. That is why it is important to say this: Terrorism does not win the fight against terrorism! It is necessary that citizens recognize that fighting terrorism and all forms of violence and crime is as a fight for the exercise of their own rights, for the expansion of space civil liberties.
Since September 11, 2001, it has been clear that facing terrorism and organized crime only from a national framework, from a single state framework is not productive. There is a need for wider national and international cooperation in the field of existential issues of life, liberty, development, security and security of people. It is necessary to continue the immediate political and military presence of the international community in the preservation and building of peace in order to narrow the area of deadly violence in the Western Balkans or violence coming from the Balkans. It is up to politicians, businessmen and intellectuals from our region to take advantage of this great chance, to share common goals and join forces in resolving common problems, and remove the boundaries to allow free flow of people, goods, money and ideas, and build impenetrable walls for terrorists and organized crime. That is why we point to the need for a public national and regional campaign to raise public awareness on the need to suppress the causes and political extremists and terrorists while respecting and strengthening human rights and freedoms. The Forum will continue to participate in all those projects that will, in 2003, lead to the establishment of a Joint Responsibility Club in the Western Balkans.
– In Serbia and the Western Balkans it is necessary to move to a normal state, to a state free of armed conflicts and major economic, social and political earthquakes. This requires building institutions and democratization.
- The main source of instability and extreme forms of violence, such as terrorism and organized crime, are grave economic and social conditions. What is especially worrisome is the profound institutional crisis and crises in relations between Serbia’s political leaders. Political leaderships in Serbia suffer from internal conflicts and divisions, and the broad ruling coalition is made up of partners who have very little common interest. Emergency coalitions will be the reality in Serbia for years to come. For that reason we emphasize that the responsibility of democratically oriented political leaders in Serbia is to demonstrate through political and governmental involvement that they understand that conditioned political coalitions forced together lead to overall loss, as well as that cooperation with extremists is the doorway to the state and human disaster. At the same time, we call upon all democratic politicians, trade union activists and non-governmental organizations to work on the establishment of the Coalition of Democratic Agreement, a coalition for continuing reforms and suppressing extremism. Only by an overall and serious reconstruction of all levels of government, starting with the Government of Serbia and its agencies, and by introducing new people who bring personal and political integrity and knowledge recognized in the country and abroad, we can have institutions which are fully operational in circumstances of political conflicts, which are able to control the system of security, but also the flows of economics and political decision-making. The next two years will be decisive for Serbia! In the next two years, political, social and economic powers will come under regular institutional flows or crime, violence and terrorism will spread across Serbia and Serbia will again become a factor of instability and violence in the region. The choice and the responsibility are ahead of us.
We welcome the first steps taken by the authorities in solving the crisis at the south of Serbia, in the reform of police legislation and operations in fighting organized crime, etc. but we point out that the terrorism against own ethnic or political group is still perceived as something that is justified or useful, and that claims of others are exclusively viewed as criminal acts or terrorism. In such conditions there is no effective fight for the rule of law, against terrorism and crime. Therefore, we emphasize the need to continue the work on raising the efficiency of institutions, including police and military forces, and the rules for fighting terrorism and crime. We call upon the Minster of Interior and the Government of Serbia to establish an independent Council for the control of human rights in the conduct of the Serbian police, as a control mechanism, to avoid turning the work efficiency in this area to state violence, autocracy and the violation of human rights. All those who, through their active involvement or failure to act, allowed the penetration of criminal and violence into state institutions and its influence on politicians must undergo full public control, lustration, and be held responsible. We call upon the citizens of Serbia to choose their leaders wisely and protect themselves, their families, their dignity and property against crime and violence.