Discover more from Meliha’s Newsletter
Lessons from Bosnia — Part 9
Rule of Law
Rule of Law versus Rules and Laws — one of the most fascinating things to look at. Especially if you add: Rules of Law — man alive, a whole solution to world peace in just those.
In this case, I will talk about manmade laws; i.e. the written laws that we come up with. There are other laws, like religious, but one that is all-powerful is the law of nature. All these environmental issues are proof that our laws are not above the laws of nature, and if our laws should go against the laws of nature, or ignore them… Yeah, nature is not going to forgive us. Nature takes her laws really seriously.
Laws of nature were, once upon a time, very popular. Nowadays, we hardly ever mention them. We are much too preoccupied with our own laws. And when we talk about the Rule of Law, it is as if nothing is more important. In practice, this is not so clear.
People respect the laws because of the consequences. The assumption is that everyone wants to stay out of prison. Generally, this is true. However, when we pay more attention to life in prison than life outside of prison, this could change. Not that our prisons shouldn’t be ‘corrective’ facilities. They should. But why do we have to wait for a person to commit a crime before we give him/her opportunities to ‘correct’ themselves? Is it because before a crime, we don’t know they need ‘correcting’? If that’s the case, we could work on that.
Of course, prison is not the only form of ‘punishment’, and (let’s be honest) there are all kinds of prisons. Some ‘prisons’ should not even be called that, they are much too fancy. However, there are other popular forms of ‘punishment’ including monetary fines and community service.
The reason we have laws is to create peace and order in our communities. This is why law-abiding citizens do not get a special reward. You know, like, you can park your car correctly a million times, and no one says ‘thank you’. Park it in the wrong place once, and you have to pay a fine. But, the assumption is that peace and order are the rewards for every citizen. Hence, no need for further reward.
Laws have existed for many centuries. Certainly before the invention of paper. They are a reflection of a societal structure, and the best of them are about creating equity. To this day, we’re very big on creating equity. However, we’re also very big on creating excuses, i.e. presenting a different narrative — as mentioned in the previous article.
For me, the most fascinating laws are those that are brought into force because there was inequity. The most famous of these laws are around slavery. So, we had slavery, i.e. brutality against humanity, and it took us a really long time to realise that this is not good, and that we should forbid it. Our sense of moral or personal accountability were clearly somewhere far away, and it took us a while to wake up to this, and even then, we had to force some (respectable) members of our society to stop being brutal to other human beings.
It should then come as no surprise that our sense of accountability comes first, and our laws come after that, plus, the quality of our laws reflect our level of accountability.
The simple fact is, if we didn’t have slavery, we would not have laws against slavery. That’s the case in Bosnia. We’ve never had slavery. We were slaves, in fact, as part of the ‘Slavic tribe’, the word slave is derived from us being enslaved, but that’s off-topic.
In the last article, I covered the basics of accountability, yet enough to make us wonder if our lack of accountability could lead to some really bad laws. But it’s not even about the type of laws, it’s about creating an environment where the laws would be taken seriously. It’s really difficult to take the laws written by some dimwits seriously, especially if the lack of accountability has spread to ordinary people. And just like lack of accountability trickles down, lack of respect for the Rule of Law also trickles down.
I’ll step away from Bosnia for just a moment because another region in the world shows how seriously we take the Rule of Law in practice. Most (if not all) of us have heard about the Human rights.
You can get a copy of the poster (I have one in A2 size) from Amnesty International website — this should be in every school, English version, local language(s), and other languages.
There’s a country in this world where (I believe) every article in the Human Rights Declaration has been violated for decades. Our leaders support those who’ve violated the Rights, NOT the victims. In fact, Violating Human Rights is in this region of the world called ‘right to defend themselves’. How is violating someone’s Human Rights an act of ‘self-defense’ is beyond me. It is NOT something I can explain. The best I can do is say that our ancestors, who wrote the Declaration, were far more accountable than we can dream to be. Hence, we support this, we understand that this is the right way forward, but we cannot bring ourselves to uphold these standards. So the question is: Would it be better for us to just get rid of Human Rights?
Some are using the ‘migrant crisis’ as an excuse to get rid of this. I.e. they have noticed that they can’t hold these values, but instead of confessing our lack of ability, we will find an excuse someplace else (again, lack of accountability covered in previous article). The fact that the migrant crisis is a result of a lack of Human Rights, and that countries can simply apply Human Rights for people who are already there to refuse further migration, hasn’t been looked into all that much. Hence, I am of the impression that someone wants to just get rid of Human Rights, any excuse will do.
Leaving Human Rights aside, we can simply conclude that a whole bunch of laws have been violated by a group in one country, yet we continue to support the criminals, not the victims. Why is that? It seems to me that it’s because of the thing we call allies — our international buddies that I’ve mentioned in a previous article. In this country, just like in Bosnia, allies have been given the ‘green light’ to break any laws. Sure, we (in Bosnia) took those allies to court, proved that they broke the laws, yet they remain allies. I don’t know why?
Furthermore, why we’re not choosing allies based on them respecting our laws is yet again something that I cannot explain. In fact, I have to admit that how we choose our allies is very confusing to me, and I don’t agree with the process. But you’d think a normal person would make ‘friends’ among those who respect their laws. It’s just a basic human sense of dignity.
And, we don’t stop there. Our resources will be invested to make us accept that our allies must be above the law. We will use our media to achieve the brainwashing of our own citizens. BBC is a fine example of this. Very recently, less than a week ago, BBC reported about protests (democratic right of citizens, that should be valued beyond measure) in the UK, and the BBC (apparently accidentally) excused collective punishment. I.e. protests in numerous places in the UK were clearly in support of A. Within that group, we might have some bad people (which large group doesn’t?). This group A is being brutally attacked, in what can only be described as genocide. People of the UK stood up against the genocide. However, the genocide became a conflict, and group A lost their real name, the whole group was called by the (maybe — remains to be proven) bad members within that group. In short, the BBC reported that the people of the UK were on the side of the ‘bad’ people, NOT against genocide which was the truth. To put it bluntly, BBC turned against the citizens of the UK to protect an ally who was breaking the laws. What’s even more surprising is that our media is agreeing to help us see collective punishment as something that should be permitted. Can you imagine what kind of chaos could come if collective punishment was allowed? No one would be safe. There is NO group without criminals.
At this point, I must mention something about ‘terrorists and terrorism’. While this should be one of the most powerful words in the English language, it has been abused so much, I struggle to find the meaning in the real world. Hence, I avoid using it altogether. And, one of the main reasons is that a person can be punished for this BEFORE the crime is proven. I’ll talk more about ‘IF (crime) THEN (punishment)’ structure, and the process between the IF and THEN, but we have a legal system based on the idea that ‘everyone is innocent until proven guilty’. This is such a fascinating area, and so worth looking into. As I said, we will get to it. However, in this paragraph, I have to say that when it comes to terrorism, it seems any of us can be accused, punished, and then we’ll see; as in, if our government tortured us, yet we’re innocent, we might get some financial compensation. This is ridiculous. But I’ll talk about ‘fear’ in the next article when I address the topic of community relations that are born after all of the other topics have been covered. For now, it is worth noting that when we don’t follow the IF and THEN structure (or innocent until proven guilty) our legal system breaks down. In the case of terrorism, we’ve lost all real meaning of this very important word, and perhaps a lot more. And the excuses given for this just make me wonder even more who is a terrorist for real. But, as I said, the word is a bit of an enigma for me, so figuring out who is a terrorist and who is not, is impossible.
In Bosnia, we have even more evidence that allies are above the Rule of Law, no matter how much we like to claim that the Rule of Law is the most important thing ever. This fanatical obsession with allies is beyond my comprehension, and as someone who believes that moderation is one of the rules of nature, I can’t call this obsession healthy.
In previous articles I’ve mentioned (multiple times) that we have a German guy, Christian Schmidt, who suspended our constitution so he can make changes. Obviously, the constitution is one of the laws, perhaps one of the most important official documents in any country. He suspended it because ‘the allies’ asked him to. If that’s not proof that allies are above the Rule of Law, I don’t know what is. But if that’s not enough, I can give tons of examples from the war, since the war, even the Dayton Peace Agreement. So let me know if you still have doubts that allies are above the Rule of Law, and that we must all accept a very unhealthy state, that could cause complete anarchy in the world, of fanatically obsessing over our allies having the rights and freedoms above the Rule of Law.
And anarchy is the only thing we can expect. Logically, if laws are written to create peace and order in a society, then not respecting those laws will lead to war and disorder, i.e. anarchy. The excuses of some fanatics, who claim one thing but believe in another, do not get us very far. Besides, if we let someone be above the law, they will become a criminal, and they will not stop being a criminal until they face punishment.
So, allies are above the rule of law. Does this mean that others might also want to be above the law? Well, yes, everybody. In Bosnia, it’s getting to the point that if you’re not above the law, you’re a nobody. In other words, while some will get away with murder, literally, we have two very popular cases of young men (two young men from different ‘tribes’ — I mentioned these tribes in previous articles), who were murdered, and their parents are in court, trying to find the killers, there have been protests, but the law-enforcement institutions are refusing to do their job. In both cases, it is becoming painfully clear that people of ‘influence’ are responsible. I.e. somebody who takes great pride in being above the rule of law. And why do they take pride in that? Well, that is the message that’s been sent by the international community (and the West is the guide), that being above the Rule of Law, means you are someone they consider very important.
We’ve also had cases where the police apologised for issuing traffic offenses to some influential people. Can you imagine the pride of those who committed the offense? I mean, it spread in Bosnia like wildfire. To be able to drive however you want without having to even worry about the police, I’m sure some would consider that as some kind of heaven.
On the other hand, we’ve had an elderly woman, who barely has enough to eat, fined for selling some products without a permit. Or a man who chopped a tree to keep his children from dying of cold, taken to prison. To be clear, I am sure many people are against trees being chopped just willy-nilly, but saving children from cold is not willy-nilly. He did not do it to sell the wood, he did it for his own needs.
In other words, laws in Bosnia do not apply equally to all. If you’ve read my previous articles, this should not be a surprise. What I do find surprising is that people who are above the law, write the laws. Why wouldn’t they just write laws that they would obey and that’s that? I mean, that way, we would be a country that believes in the Rule of the Law. This is something we’ll have to talk about because the topic is just too big for this article, but I will leave the idea with you.
Some important laws for Bosnia do not exist. For example, we do not have a Law of Treason. Many of our politicians are against Bosnia, so this Law could not be written let alone put into force. Technically, if we do not have a law, we can use the one we had during Yugoslavia. Needless to say, that is not even mentioned. I have never heard of someone saying: “We need an Act prohibiting treason”.
However, one Act that is in the news ALL THE TIME is the Elections Act. One of the tribes is not happy with the current Elections Act because it has too much democracy, they want power no matter what, and yes, the German HR is assisting this group who need a dictatorship. It was getting to the point that they were driving us all insane pushing for the ridiculous changes in the Elections Act. They openly stated that they would block the whole country unless their wishes were obeyed. Since Bosnia was not willing to make those changes, that tribe got Mr Christian Schmidt to force those changes on us.
Now, has Germany always been good at writing laws? No! Germany is a fine example in recent history of how laws can go very, very wrong, brutally so. Initially, it was an internal issue. Germans making laws for Germany. Yet look how it turned out. The whole world suffered. Again, bad laws are something we’ll have to talk about because this article is limited.
So, on the one hand, we have these vital decisions that we put into Acts and enforce as Laws. On the other hand, we have a whole mess of things: 1. What kind of laws, should we uphold those laws, and if we shouldn’t what should we do? 2. Laws do not apply to everyone equally, especially not to allies. 3. Law-enforcement institutions are politicised, hence Rule of Law becomes a joke.
I’ve already mentioned in previous articles that war criminals in Bosnia are living a normal life, while innocent people who fought for their country are in court for years proving their innocence. This is not a coincidence. The courts need to show they are doing something, but that something cannot go against the ally or allies. So, they torment the innocent people.
It is beyond comprehension. Firstly, the evidence against those who carried out atrocities during the war is well known. Some of the footage is available online. The courts simply choose to turn a blind eye. In the previous article about accountability, I wrote how important it is to bring up one piece of truth so that the whole truth would be ignored. Courts of Law are going one step further. Not only do they try to bring up one piece of truth, they try to turn lies into truth because that’s what the politicians need.
We’ve all heard about people going to prison (or worse) for a crime they did not commit. Usually, this is because there is a ‘glitch’ in the system — someone has a good lawyer and others don’t. But in Bosnia, there are people in prison for war crimes that they didn’t manage to disprove. I know a man who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for killing 8 civilians because as the hearing lasted many years, witnesses died or turned to drugs. So he was found not guilty a number of times, in a number of courts. But then, one appeal after another, he lost his witnesses, and eventually, he was sentenced.
As I said in Vienna in 2014, the problem with the Rule of Law in Bosnia is that the foundation is wrong. Anything we try to build on that foundation will not have any effect. We have to change the foundation. I insisted that the foundation needs fixing before we can have Laws and expect a Rule of Law situation.
However, looking at the world now, I am wondering if we’re mature enough to obey the Laws that already exist, that were written by people far wiser than us. Let alone that we are wise enough to write decent laws.
In short, we can’t expect too much from the laws in Bosnia, because the foundation, the Dayton Peace Agreement, is not fair or just. Hence, building on that is just stupid. But even when we fix that (and I hope that’ll happen really soon, it’s already running late), do we have what it takes to write decent laws? That remains to be seen. First thing’s first, the foundation. We should not have some German come along and change our Elections Act. Not only did he change it completely contrary to the popular opinion in Bosnia, he changed it to serve the neighbouring country, one minute after the ballots closed in October 2022.
What should we do when the majority does not support a law? In the case of the Elections Act, should we just not vote?
To make matters worse, I was personally present in meetings with OHR when we, the people of Bosnia, made some sensible requests. We were told that we have to go through our government. Clearly, OHR lied to us. I.e. they are against themselves. Their job is to listen to us, the people, their job is NOT to serve the needs of one tribe, who never even had a protest.
And, when we did go to our government, we had success with one Act, but only because there was an exchange — again, I’ll talk more about this, though it has been mentioned in previous articles how our government trades Acts. With other laws, we had no success because we were told to go from one minister to another, again, mentioned in a previous article about the transfer of blame.
In short, lessons from Bosnia about the Rule of Law:
1. Laws exist for a great purpose. So great, that anything to do with laws, whether writing them, enforcing them, or choosing punishments, everything should be taken most seriously.
2. Rule of Law should be taken as seriously as we claim it should be. It should not be a fancy phrase that we use to make ourselves sound grownup; serious and responsible.
3. Manmade laws should never ever go against the laws of nature.
4. Laws must apply to everyone equally. NO one should be above our laws, or we should just change the laws. Excuses are for children.
5. Our allies should earn that position, the position of being our ‘friends’. Rule of Law should come first and then based on that, we should choose our allies. We should not be too weak to uphold our own Laws.
6. Apart from ‘criminals’, there are two types of people who do not respect the laws: either free spirits, with daisies in their hair, or officials in ties and suits and sensible shoes. But only one of these groups will openly confess how they feel about laws.
7. The voice of citizens should be heard in the process of making laws, let alone after the laws are made.
8. We must respect the IF/THEN structure or are laws are without foundation, and the whole system will just fall apart.
9. A solid foundation, like a constitution, is vital to a legal system.
10. When we allow someone or something to be above the laws, no excuse will prevent anarchy. It’s just a question of time. Criminals will come to power, breed like fish, create ridiculous laws, and anarchy will be our future.