Eller kraften i förhandlingens väg kan man också kalla detta inlägg som handlar om inbördeskriget i det forna Jugoslavien, Bosnien och Haagtribunalen. Men inte om lidandet, utan om en man som gjorde det möjligt för invånarna i en av de tre enklaver som i flera år var omringade av bosnienserbiska styrkor, att överleva. Med hjälp av förhandlingsvapnet.
Det tre enklaverna var Srebrenica, Zepa och Gorazde. Av dess kom två att erövras av bosnien-serbiska styrkor och den tredje, Gorazde, att behålla sitt oberoende ända tills kriget tog slut. Hur det gick i Srebrenica vet vi alla. Det slutade med att stora delar av stadens manliga befolkning massakrerades. Men historien om hur befolkningen i Zepa klarade sig trots att bosnienserbiska styrkor intog staden är mindre känd.
Det är delvis historien om en man, som i slutändan offrade sitt liv för att de andra skulle komma undan, Avdo Palic var hans namn:
Avdo Palic and Esma Palic came to Žepa, his wife’s hometown on March 29, 1992 to visit her relatives, but stayed behind when he realized that the people needed a leader to help organize them to resist the impending aggression. In any case they would have been unable to leave because the town was blockaded. In early April he became the commander of the Žepa T.O. (Territorial Defence) and subsequently the commander of the Bosnian government forces in the area which became known as the 285th Light Mountain Brigade.
On June 4th, 1992, a 40-vehicle convoy of Yugoslav National Army troops was sent from Pale to occupy Žepa. As it passed through a canyon on the way to the town it was ambushed by Palic and his men. The defenders of Žepa didn’t have many weapons with which to stop the convoy so they also dislodged boulders and rolled logs down into the canyon in effort to stop the attack. 45 JNA soldiers were killed and another 31 wounded and captured. All of the captured Serb soldiers were later exchanged for food. Following that unsuccessful attempt to occupy Žepa the Serbs laid siege for the next three years.
The Žepa enclave was in a remote, mountainous and heavily forested area and was completely surrounded by the Serbian army which regularly shelled the enclave indiscriminately. Žepa was entirely dependent on outside supplies of food and medicine which were supposed to be delivered by the UNPROFOR peacekeepers, but the deliveries were consistently obstructed by the Serbs.
Nevertheless the defenders of Žepa were able to hold out in spite of a severe lack of weapons and ammunition. Nearly all of their weapons were captured from the enemy or were smuggled in on foot or by helicopter from the Bosnian government controlled areas.
On April 17, 1993 the Žepa enclave was demilitarized and turned into a safe area by a United Nations Security Council Resolution . A contingent of UNPROFOR troops from the Ukraine was stationed there. Their job was to protect the civilian population and ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian aid. This mission was laid out in UN Security Council Resolution 819 and 836 However the resolutions didn’t change the dire humanitarian situation and the shelling as well as other offensive actions against Žepa continued.
Så småningom föll dock Zepa ändå, men genoma förhandlingar som genomfördes av Palic så vann man så mycket tid att befolkningen kunde fly från orten och klara sig undan det öde som drabbade deras bröder och systrar i Srebrenica:
Between July 6-11, 1995 the Serbs overran the enclave of Srebrenica and committed the notorious Srebrenica massacre. Following that they turned their sights on Žepa. Knowing that his men were outnumbered, outgunned and low on ammunition, Col. Palic sought to negotiate a withdrawal and spare the 3,000 people in Žepa the fate of the massacre victims in Srebrenica. He first escorted his family to safety and returned to Žepa to secure safe passage for everybody else.
By engaging in negotiation he was able to give the people of Žepa time to escape and another massacre was avoided. During his meetings with Serb officers he was supposedly under the protection of the UN. On July 27, 1995 he went to a meeting with senior Serb and UN officials, among who was Ratko Mladic who subsequently admitted that Palic was seized and later said Pali? had been killed (only one source reports Mladi? saying that Palic had been killed).
Eftersom hans kropp inte återfunnits man alltså inte har kunnat bekräfta att han är död, men man kan nat att han är det. Det har dock gjorts många försök at vinna rättvisa åt hjälten från Zepa. Mannen som använde förhandlingar som ett medel för att rädda 300 människor från att bli massakrerade.
Leading the fight to uncover the truth about the disappearance of Col. Palic and recover his remains is his wife Esma. She has worked tirelessly to get justice for her husband. Under pressure. In recent times Esma Pali? has filled lawsuits in the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Court of Human Rights in Strassburg, France. She has also pettitioned the Office of the High Representative in Sarajevo.
Amnesty International and other human rights groups have also made efforts to get justice for Col. Palic.
The Serb government is reluctant to admit to killing Col. Palic since it is against the Geneva Convention to torture and murder POWs. Admitting responsibility would leave government and military authorities open for charges of murder. However the government of Republika Srpska has paid her 65,000 KM in compensation and has and has led unsuccessful searches for his remains. For now the case of Avdo Pali? is the same as the case of the 17,000 people still missing since the war.
En del av de som kunde rädda sig på grund av hans agerande har dessutom kunnat återvända hem.
Genom att skriva detta inlägg har jag kunnat tillmötesgå önskemålen från en annan bloggare, Ida på Forum För Frihet. Jag passar också på att visa hur omfattande diskussionen om kriget i Bosnien varit inom den svenska vänstern genom att länka till två omfattande länksamlingar, en hos Ordfront och en hos Manifest.