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Zlatko Lagumdžija, Deputy Prime Minister of Bosnia, 1992–93

Zlatko Lagumdžija, former deputy prime minister of Bosnia, speaks about the repercussions of neutral approaches to peacekeeping missions and emphasizes the need for greater attention to atrocity prevention and early warning systems. 


So I think that in situations like this, we have to be very clear that what are the values, what we stand for, where we get something, someplace. And we have to somehow, to protect those values. That is the only way to protect the lives of innocent people. Otherwise, you simply don’t go there.

Now, the mechanisms that we’re witnessing, that were part of our recent history, were multilateral mechanisms that were definitely not able to respond to the challenges that were behind us. So that is the reason why it is, from my perspective, more than evident that we have to invest much more in prevention, much more in early warning systems, and much more in being responsible to protect people before we get into that kind of madness. So values, words, and deeds somehow should meet in the middle of the problem that we want to tackle.

Our role is not to explain the history. Our role is to be changing the history. And I see this exercise as an element of being able to produce some tools as the result of knowledge, and a knowledge base, but productive tools of how to avoid the history in its darkest periods.

If, after World War I [sic], Never Again was the slogan that new generation grew and grew, we got surprised that Srebrenica happened as a genocide in the middle of Europe, just a year after a genocide in Africa, in Rwanda. But genocide in Europe, on the same soil where we were having a genocide in World War II, this is something which made us even more responsible to be serious about Never Again. And if we have to wait for the third time, when it’s going to be Never Again, then we are definitely people who don’t deserve to have a decent future.

So that is the reason why I’m very proud and happy to be a part of this process because I think we are building up, step by step, little model by model, [a] new set of Lego bricks that will help us to be able, if there is political will, to be really witnessing, substantially, Never Again.