of Truth and Responsibility - Towards A Democratic Future"
The international conference "In Search of Truth and Responsibility
- Towards A Democratic Future", to be held in Hotel Intercontinental
Belgrade, on May 18-20 2001, will be the first such opportunity
to discuss these issues since the dramatic events of September
24 and October 5 2000.
The participation of a large number of experts
from around the world, the Balkans region and our country is not
the only reason why this conference is important. It also marks
the launch of the long and painful process of confronting the
truth, examining the responsibility, and ultimately working towards
reconciliation in the whole of south-east Europe. Most people
in Yugoslavia and Serbia, as well as experts in the field, are
more willing than ever before to face up to what has been happening
in our most recent past. At the same time, public awareness is
growing ever stronger that if we do not confront our past it will
be impossible to bring about the necessary democratic reforms
and modernisation of our society as a whole.
The varied experiences of truth and reconciliation
commissions from Latin America, South Africa and Asia suggest
that there is no universal model for responding to the challenges
of the past. Also valuable are the diverse experiences of post-Communist
eastern European countries in embarking on the process of adopting
democracy and confronting their own pasts, with varying degrees
of success. Clearly, justice in times of transition is not an
entity which can be automatically replicated or applied.
However, there is a consensus: namely that,
in both social and political terms, one cannot strive towards
a better future if burdened by the lies and concealed crimes which
strike at the heart of humanity itself.
The conference "In Search of Truth and
Responsibility - Towards A Democratic Future" will give us
the chance to examine and reconsider the various ways in which
truth and reconciliation commissions have worked. This in turn
will have a far-reaching and profound impact on the wider public
debate about this issue within Yugoslav society.
Over a hundred experts from home and abroad
have confirmed thus far their participation in the event. Yugoslav
President Vojislav Kostunica and the director of the Institute
for Justice in Transition, Alex Boraine, will open the conference.