The High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Christian Schmidt, addressed a gathering in Budapest two days ago and on that occasion commented on the situation in our country. However, when he spoke about the topic of war, he also touched on the topic of genocide, but his wording caused a storm of reactions.
The recording of Schmidt’s address was not published, but part of what the High Representative spoke about was shared by Senada Selo Sabic, a senior research associate at the Institute for the Development of International Relations from Croatia. She received her doctorate in the field of social and political sciences in Florence, and she also studied in the United States (U.S.) and has two master’s degrees.
Namely, Selo Sabic pointed out on her Twitter account that Schmidt, talking about the war in BiH, said that a “genocide-style situation in Srebrenica” was necessary to end the war in BiH.
She protested at the meeting and asked what that should mean. What is the situation in “the style of genocide”? Is it an appearance of genocide? Genocide in a certain style? She pointed out that such wording is offensive.
Arminka Helic, baroness, and member of the House of Lords of the British Parliament commented on her announcement.
“Genocide does not just come out of nowhere. It is an act of extermination, that is premeditated, organized, and planned for. Naming the act and its perpetrators and insisting on accountability is the only path to reconciliation and healing,” said Helic.
Shortly after that, the Srebrenica Memorial Center announced that it would be looking for a transcript of the High Representative’s speech at the Budapest Balkan Forum.
Schmidt has not commented on this situation so far. However, this comes at a time when the High Representative is again in the public spotlight, either because of his earlier interventions in the Federation of BiH (FBiH) Constitution and changes to the electoral law or because of a possible new intervention. Also in BiH, there are more and more people from political circles who criticize him.
What needs to be emphasized in this case is that Schmidt expressed his stance on genocide immediately after arriving in BiH and visited Potocari several times, condemning those who committed the genocide. However, as a public figure, it is clear that he is responsible for every word he utters. And what he is credited with saying in Budapest is not in his favor, primarily because of the bigger picture.
Whether it is a lapse, carelessness, or simply bad expression in English, only Schmidt knows. Nevertheless, regardless of that, this situation is another burden for Schmidt in an extremely difficult political situation, because regardless of the situation, there is a weight to what is said, and Schmidt should be aware of that, Klix.ba reports.