At this time of all-encompassing outrage, various associations based on the myth about the Patriotic War are pouring out their patriotic wine. Judging by their statements, Furundzija was convicted only because he is a Croat and an inculpating circumstance was that he is from the Lasva river valley. A unique explanation of the controversial sentence arrived from Mostar: the local Association of Parents and Widows of the Slain and Missing Defenders claims that Furundzija was tried according to Sharia law! Furundzija was found guilty for failing to prevent, as the commander, a torture and a rape of a Bosniak woman. He personally questioned the woman while she was tortured and raped. Louise Arbour, the chief prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal, described Furundzuja's trial as "very important". She is satisfied with the sentence.
Thus, Furundzija has officially become a convicted war criminal. That is the essence of the matter. Although Tudman's patriotic writers question the severity of the sentence, it is clear that the sentence is not the most important problem in this matter. The origin of the dissatisfaction is in the theory that Croats led a defensive war and cannot be war criminals. According to that theory, they can be indicted, taken to the Hague, kept in cells, but under no circumstances can they be found guilty. Because, every guilty verdict undermines the fake stereotype about the innocence of Croats in this war.
The situation with Serbs is even more complicated. Mobile pens of Milosevic's fascism falsify the circumstance that the first convicted war criminal in the Hague was Bosnian Serb Dusan Tadic, infamous bully from the camp in Trnopolje, as another proof for the alleged international conspiracy against Serbs. The suicide of Slavko Dokmanovic and the death of Milan Kovacevic were used for a an imaginative story that something strange is taking place in the Hague, since only Serbs are dying in Scheveningen prison. Of course, those Serbs participated in a liberation war and ended up innocent in prison cells.
A nationalist relief still dominates media geography in Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina. The same writers who made war criminals into national heroes are today defending them from a deserved punishment. Actually they defend rulers and systems which survive on chauvinist hatred. Because, only in that sort of atmosphere one's own war crimes receive abolition from "the whole populace" as is stated in one of the protest announcements regarding Ante Furundzija's verdict.
Translated on 1/15/99