Serbia After The Assassination: A Police State?
After the tragic event of March 12 and the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjich, the now illegitimate Serbian Government imposed the State of Emergency (SoE). The media – and, thus, all criticism – have been silenced. Unions and other citizen groups and organizations, as well as political parties, have been banned from organizing any public meetings, discussion panels, public debates, etc. It is especially verboten to even question the Government's decision to impose martial law or discuss the reasons and motive(s) behind such a decision. Don't even dare stand up for your rights ("Those who resist arrest will be shot," said Serbia's Interior Minister Dushan Mihailovich, an ex-ally of Slobodan Miloshevich, whose party secured Miloshevich's rule when his government lacked the votes in the Parliament, back in 1994).
In short, discussing or questioning anything and everything pertaining to this move by the Government – even when the declaration of the SoE is in clear violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, as is the case now – is strictly prohibited and punishable. Citizens can be held in detention indefinitely without ever being charged, because a rubber-stamped extension of the detention can always be secured.
A crony of the slain PM, one Chedomir Yovanovich, a 29-year-old student-cum-henchman rumoured to be a heavy drug addict, who has been nominated for the post of a deputy Prime Minister (an absolutely outrageous move in itself given Yovanovich's age, inexperience and criminal connections) is quoted as saying: "The State of Emergency will last for as long as required until Serbia is crime-free." Well, they might as well set an example and start crime-freeing it by turning themselves in first.
In other words, until they, the Unelected Few, decide it's time to do away with it, the extraordinary and repressive measures will be in place. That moment, technically, might never come, because the Constitution places no limits on the length of the SoE.
The media – TV and radio stations, newspapers, magazines and other publications, both printed and electronic – that are found in breach of the rules imposed under the SoE are threatened with fines of up to 500,000 dinars ($9,000 – big money in an impoverished Serbia where the average monthly salary is $160) and even a permanent shut-down. In fact, the Government has just announced that it has closed down the offices of the daily Nacional and prohibited the sale of Dan ("The Day", a daily published in Montenegro) on the territory of Serbia. A local TV station in the town of Valyevo (hometown of Serbia's Interior Minister, by the way) has also been shut down.
This painfully obvious attempt by the very unpopular and incompetent Government to prolong the life and rule of the oligarchy (i.e. itself) by suspending the civil and human rights, otherwise guaranteed by the Constitution and various international human rights agreements and conventions to which Serbia is a signatory party, cannot be allowed to go unnoticed. Eight million of Serbia's citizens are now prisoners in their own country because the Government was too incompetent – or, worse, unwilling – to deal with the problem of organized crime earlier. And, God knows, it has had its share of chances.
Extending the SoE ad infinitum – presumably until all critics are silenced, and all the levers of power firmly in the hands of this joke of a Government, which has already turned the Skupshtina (Parliament) into its rubber-stamp shop by unconstitutionally expelling and/or threatening into submission those MPs who did not toe the Djindjich Government's despotic line – is a clear violation of the rights of Serbia's citizens. All those who refuse to be accessories to this crime are in danger. Those who are crazy enough to call for democratic, free and fair elections are all but labeled traitors by the Government. All the ingredients needed for the creation of a lynch-mob ambiance and vigilantism are in place.
Serbia's acting President, Mrs. Natasha Michich, a member of the minute pro-Imperial Civic Alliance of Serbia (GSS), yet another Djindjich-installed puppet and, until a year ago, a virtual nobody, has nominated a couple of Djindjich party comrades for the posts of PM and Deputy PM and it is even suggested that the Government ought to have 15 (fifteen!) Deputy PMs. (Imagine if the US had 15 VPs). The comrades have been confirmed by the "customized" Parliament.
The Government is trying to justify this 15 Deputies stunt as being a "necessary" step toward a "consensus". Consensus for what? Clearly, it is an attempt aimed at satisfying the ever-growing appetites of the never-elected fifteen leaders of the oligarchy known as the DOS. If some of these leaders were leaning in favour of general elections (which is doubtful), this "small incentive" ought to make them fall back in line. Given that the Government has tailored the Parliament to suit its needs and its dictatorial agenda, the confirmation of these proven enemies of democracy by the Parliament that doesn't reflect the will of the citizens was by no means uncertain.
It is feared that the Government might use the extraordinary situation to "get even" with the workers' unions, the few pro-Constitution, pro-rule of law NGOs and think-tanks, and political opponents, such as the extremely popular Democratic Party of Serbia led by Serbia's most popular politician, Dr Voislav Koshtunitsa, until recently President of Yugoslavia.
Another Djindjich stooge, one Boris Tadich, has been confirmed as the Defence Minister. His first move, according to his own statements given during the past 48 hours, will be to enforce "cadre changes" in the Army of Serbia & Montenegro (until recently the Yugoslav Army) and "prepare the country" for the membership in NATO's perversely misnamed Partnership for Peace.
A poll published in the widely-respected NIN weekly this past February indicates that 74% of Serbians harbour a deep resentment towards NATO (and, by extension, the PfP). And who could blame them? Maybe one of the reasons the dead PM never had an approval rating of more than 9% was exactly because of his shameless, treacherous, cheerleading during NATO's aggression on Serbia, March-June 1999, when he requested that Serbia be bombed for as long as possible.
Acting against the interests of Serbian citizens is nothing new for the gang once led by the dead Prime Minister; the gang which has, since March 12, so swiftly filled in the vacuum in order to prevent, by all means necessary, the will of the people from rightfully dictating country's post-assassination path to a state governed by the Constitution and rule of law.
N. Tankosich was born in Zrenyanin, northeastern Serbia, in 1979.
He is an "old school" Serbian liberal ("libertarian")
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