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Jack Baric Croatian American filmaker: UN Should Be Trailed!
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  04/16/2011 | Human Rights , Politics , History , Education | Unrated
Author of Searching for Storm, the documentary about Croatian general Gotovina
Originally published August 2, 2010

Jack Baric, Croatian-American filmmaker

Jack Baric filmmaker

Jack Baric: UN Should Be Trailed!

Author of the documentary about Croatian general Gotovina revealed his positions towards the role of the UN in the Croatian Homeland War.

- What surprised me most was how strongly opinionated Anton Nikiforov was as the representative of the UN and the ICTY court in the idea that this was a war that you cannot define the aggressor by. He made it clear time and time again that it is humanly impossible to define the aggressor in this war. I can certainly say that the Croatian side committed crimes during the war [Croatian Homeland War of Independence], the Bosnian side committed crimes during the war, but I found it surprising how ideate he was that you couldn`t have found the aggressor. I had always known that sort of attitude existed, but I`d never had it come straight to my face. I for one think that was the mistake they made in the beginning and in my mind it’s a mistake they continued to make in court, because my belief is that one of the objectives of the court is to create a narrative, and that narrative is a justification of the policy, which is that this was a civil war, not a war or aggression by Milosevic.

- I think it`s interesting that the UN has created a court to judge the Serbs, Bosnians and Croatians and I wonder who is going to open a court to judge the UN, because in my estimation they were complicit during the war in the sense of their inactivity in stopping it. Not just the United Nations; the European Union and others were equally responsible, but the difference is those places now don`t have a court, the United Nations does - Jack Baric, director of “Searching for a Storm” told us without holding back. His film deals with Croatian general Ante Gotovina, currently on trial in The Hague.

Even though he planned for the film to be shot in a year, his intention expanded to two and a half years, during which Baric interviewed many people, including Anton Nikiforov from the ICTY on the Prosecution side and Luka Misetic who is Ante Gotovina`s attorney, human rights activists, journalists and diplomats from Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia, as well as Paris, London and The Hague. He did not interview Gotovina, because this violates the rules of The Hague Tribunal, however, he did not encounter any other problems in the creative process. Seeing how he was facing the world premiere of the film at this year`s ZagrebDox documentary film festival, we wondered what sort of reactions he expected from Croatian politicians.

Hey, maybe you were wrong in 1991!

- I`ve been hearing so many mixed things about Croatian politicians that I really don`t know. I can say this: there some people in Croatia who say about the politicians that they bent a little bit too easily for the EU, in terms of the Gotovina case. I have to be honest, I don`t envy their position. They are put up between a rock and a hard place. The debate should be shifted from the internal to the external and there should be the ability for Croatian society and other as well, to openly question the EU. They are asking Croatia to come into Europe as a democratic country, but I get the sense that the European Union does not like to be criticised and that`s not very democratic. When I think of politics, I think of the politics of Europe. What kind of a European Union is it if it doesn`t like being told: `Hey, maybe you were wrong in 1991`?

What exactly happened in 1991, according to Baric?

- In the beginning part of the war, the Europeans essentially told the Americans: `Don`t worry -.-Ivica Lovrić-.-about it, we got it, this is our back yard, we`ll handle this`. And they didn`t. There`s a lot of people who are not alive today, because of the fact that they handled it poorly from the very first day. I believe that Milosevic was the aggressor, I don`t believe it was a civil war, I believe it was a war of aggression, but whatever you believe, you can probably agree to the fact that had Europe and the international community acted more strongly in the summer of 1991, we wouldn`t be doing this interview,
because the war wouldn`t have lasted that long and there wouldn`t have been a Gotovina or operation Storm - Baric says.

UN needs to be taught a lesson

The film was supposed to have been called “Gotovina. Let the Truth Be Told”, however, Baric changed his mind in the end, because “Search for a Storm” provides a wider picture of the political conditions in Croatia at the time, as well as in the world. What is the exact truth that Baric wants to offer to the people?

- The truth is that in the summer of 1991 Milosevic attacked Slovenia and Croatia, in 1992 he followed that up by attacking Bosnia-Herzegovina, he later did it in Kosovo and the international community failed in stopping him. In 1993, the ICTY was formed to bring justice – it`s a good idea, people who commit war crimes should be in jail, but I think part of their failing as an institution is they`ve gone and involved in politics and they`ve clearly attempted to create a narrative that justifies their position during the war, which is that it was a civil war, not a war of aggression. Until they really take a step back and look at what they did and did not do here, they`re gonna have a difficult time moving forward the next time there`s a war in another country in another place. There is a lesson to be learned from what happened here, that hopefully won`t be repeated in other countries. Unfortunately, they don`t want to learn that lesson, because learning that lesson would acknowledge their failings.

Baric is an American film director, son of Croatian immigrants. Prompted by a deep relationship with his parents` homeland, he decided to speak up to the American public about what was happening, at first during the war, and then to make a film about the events and general Ante Gotovina.

AUTHOR  Nikolina Pavleković, source


Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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