Parliamentarian Representing Bosnia and Herzegovina: "We need to launch a national awareness campaign about crimes committed in the name of communist ideology"

Speech from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Debates
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On January 25th 2006, The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), which brings together parliamentarians from 46 European countries, passed a resolution entitled “Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes” at its plenary session. The resolution was passed by 99 votes to 42, which caught the attention of countries all over the world. Europe is the place where the spectre of Communism was born. This resolution passed by PACE heralded a new beginning of an international condemnation of totalitarian communist regimes.

Before voting on the resolution, the plenary session held over two hours of intensive debates. Parliamentarians from different countries made speeches at the meeting, outlining their personal experiences and opinions of communist regimes. Clearharmony will publish these speeches to bring attention to the crimes of the world’s largest communist regime — the Chinese Communist Party — which has brutally oppressed Falun Gong practitioners for almost seven years resulting in almost three thousand deaths and at least 44,000 documented abuses of torture.

The following is a report on the speech by Mrs Lozančić, a parliamentarian representing Bosnia and Herzegovina:

I would like to talk about this theme because my country had a one-party system until 1990, changing to a multi-party system at a time of armed conflict. We need international condemnation of crimes by totalitarian communist regimes, especially in countries that were subject to such regimes. Confronting communist crimes is hardly possible without reform of the institutions in those countries that were under the rule of totalitarian communist regimes. Reform of those institutions should lead to the adoption of laws that protect the dignity and rights of victims of communist rule.

We need to launch a national awareness campaign about crimes committed in the name of communist ideology, including the revision of school books. We should hold a memorial day for victims of communism and establish museums as part of such a campaign. It is difficult to imagine a modern democratic society being successful without confronting the past or accepting the truth about communist crimes.

However, in countries in transition – countries with a communist past – that is almost impossible. Looking back to the past should not be a motive for new conflicts. It must be a strong stimulus for building a better future. In that sense, Willy Brandt’s remarks about truth, remorse and reconciliation are relevant.

Justice must be accessible for everyone regardless of national, religious, political or ideological background. Victims of communist terror must obtain moral and material satisfaction. Selective justice and the feeling of injustice which results from it can be dangerous for a democracy, especially a society in transition, and it can slow down the democratic process. Judicial bodies must process all communist crimes and violations of human rights to return dignity and justice to victims of communist regimes.

If we do not determine the truth about communist crimes and face that truth and if we do not process war crimes and violations of human rights by totalitarian communist regimes, there will be frustration and a feeling of injustice, which could cause a new conflict such as the one in the former Yugoslavia. In processing crimes and violations of human rights, it is necessary to keep track of individual guilt, because those who commit crimes and violate human rights must be convicted.

This document is especially important for the transition countries that have lived under communist regimes. I support the setting up of a committee to carry out comprehensive investigations into communist crimes in Council of Europe member states. Countries must face the past and the truth about communist crimes and violations of human rights. However, the future is certain – a European family of free and democratic countries and people.

More information on the resolution “Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes” can be found at

Note: Founded on May 5th 1949, the Council of Europe (COE) has 46 member countries and has its headquarters in Strasbourg, France. The COE aims to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, to develop continent-wide agreements to standardise member countries’ social and legal practices, and to promote awareness of a European identity based on shared values and cutting across different cultures. The highest decision-making body is the Committee of Ministers, composed of the 46 Foreign ministers or their Strasbourg-based deputies (ambassadors/permanent representatives). The European Human Rights Court is a body under the Council of Europe.

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