"In Search 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.

Forum B92 - Tema

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