GLOCAL March 2014 - Page 21

Could Crimea be another Bosnia? Page 'A democratic reply to undemocratic modern day secessionism is as pressures.‟ This is how Radovan follows: Karadžić's party characterised the referendum it organised in Bosnia in I. assert a claim of victimhood as a result of outrageous acts November 1991. The anti-democratic perpetrated by an oppressor; measure, as they saw it, was the majority vote by the then Assembly of II. represent one‟s own acts as a „legitimate response‟ to the the Socialist Republic of Bosniaoppressor‟s acts. Here a selfHerzegovina declaring Bosnia a organised referendum is desirable sovereign republic within its existing because it appears democratic; borders. Karadžić had a legal case for lodging a complaint against this vote III. proclaim, thereafter, in a local assembly, a unilateral declaration of but instead his party upped the ante, independence (UDI) based on a abandoned the Assembly and „right to self-determination.‟ organised a mono-ethnic referendum outside the existing legal structures of While the formula is fairly clear, the the republic. In this, ethnic Serb details and improvisations around it voters were asked if they wanted matter a great deal in assessing Socialist Bosnia to remain within the legitimacy. The interstate system and then Socialist Federal Republic of international law are, as a rule, Yugoslavia or not. Non-Serb Bosnians strongly opposed to secessionism. But could, in theory, also vote but on the empirical circumstances of separate, differently coloured ballot oppression and response do matter. papers. Few bothered. Karadžić‟s party‟s claim of victimhood at the hands of Croatian „fascists‟ and The terms and legacy of Karadžić‟s „Muslim fundamentalists‟ was, for ploy in November 1991 are worth example, based on political hysteria, recalling as another referendum not hard evidence of oppression. gambit plays itself out this weekend in Neighbouring Serbian strongman Crimea. The essential formula for 19 Gerard Toal*