ABSTRACT: Interview with Emma Bonino by Dukagjin Gorani and Sihana Xhaferi published in "Koha" (*) on November 28th 1994.
(*) "Koha" (="Time") is an Albanian-language newsmagazine published in Kosovo; in this issue it dedicates three full pages to this interview, with photographs of Emma Bonino, Marco Pannella, and Radical party's symbol; the title of the interview is an editorial choice.
Emma Bonino is General Secretary of the transnational Radical party (headquarters in Rome), an energetic political subject that insists in european federalism and the formation of the United States of Europe; among its members are many Kosovarians (special place take Mr Adem Demaqi). Not long time ago she was elected as commissioner for control and distribution of humanitarian aid by the European Union. Mrs Bonino, supporter and admirer of Mr Demaqi and Albanians' engagement in Kosovo, speaks exclusively for "Koha" about her efforts in the field of human rights, about the vision of "radicals" on the solution of ex-Yugoslavia problem, about the failed european "realpolitik", for the immediate needing of transformation of UNO and the possibility of protectorate of UNO above Kosovo...
KOHA - After the initiative of US Department of State (the lifting of arms embargo upon Bosnia muslims) regarding Bosnia problem and especially after failure of EU and Peace Conference on Ex-Yugoslavia, the situation in Balkans is developing in a different shape. How do You look upon to this course of events?
BONINO - During the last three years the dramatic events in the former Yugoslavia due to the serbian aggression against Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, as well as to the oppression of the Albanians in the Kosovo, have deplored the weakness and the lack of policy of the West in this region. This has only encouraged the aggressors as shown by the rejection of the peace proposals of the Contact Group by the Serbs and the uninterrupted attacks of Serbian units in the allegedly Safe zones. The Serbs are encouraged by the arms embargo against the former Yugoslav republics, which has deprived the victims of means to defend themselves against them, richly provided in heavy and modern equipment. Therefore I understand the american attitude and Washington's unilateral decision as a last warning to all concerned parties: either the United Nations and the European Union and each one of us change our policy and finally obtain results for justice and peace; or there will be other very grave developments. We hope that the de
mocratic world will finally take a firm stand and thus regain its lost credibility.
* EU, HEAP OF GOVERNMENTS THAT DO NOT AGREE
KOHA - Where do You see the reasons of this EC political failure?
BONINO - First of all the EU failed in recognizing that among the warring parties there were aggressors and assaulted, oppressors and oppressed, a "little thing" that makes the difference. Furthermore, I see these reasons in the structure of the European Union itself, which at present is not a real federalist institution, but the simple sum of 12 or 16 single governments, with different policies in any field. We need the democratic reform of the EU, with one currency as soon as possible, one President of Europe, and, above all, a stronger European Parliament charged to write the Constitution of the United States of Europe.
KOHA - As a commissioner for humanitarian aid within the EU, what is Your opinion in regard to the disallowance of distribution of humanitarian help for Kosovo that is exercised from a serbian side, i.e. police and military organs?
BONINO - Of course, I have not a good opinion about that! But I can't start that duty before the Commission will be officialy appointed in January 1995, then I'll study the dossier about Kosova. Anyway, my first effort as commissioner will be to study how to distribute humanitarian aid in an effective way. I mean that aid must be delivered directly from Brussels to the population. I repeat: directly.
* HONEST POLITICS COSTS A LOT OF MONEY
KOHA - The Hague Tribunal. Will the justice (international law) ever see its realization - will the trials against warlords and war criminals from battlefields of Croatia and Bosnia (that are fearfuly involved in Kosova tragedy as well) ever start?
BONINO - Actually, it already started, thanks to the action of the Radical party which struggled for the creation of such a Tribunal as one its main political initiatives during the past two years. From the deep of my heart I thank MPs from Kosova who supported our action together with MPs from tens of countries, from Italy to Russia, from the USA to Bulgaria, etc. But the Tribunal won't work if it is not financed by UN in the frame of its normal budget, and if we'll not be able to establish it as a permanent institution, I mean the International Criminal Court we're asking for. I'm just now back from New York, where I had discussed the issue proposing the institution of the Permanent Tribunal. Unfortunately, this time little progress has been made because of the dilatory position of the American government. Please let me send a message to the readers overseas, on the other side of the ocean: we need your help in supporting Americans who are in favour of our campaign, and supporting the Radical party as well
through your membership fees, because doing politics honestly costs money!
KOHA - During your trip to the UN headquarters in New York, You also discussed the death penalty issue. What's your opinion about it?
BONINO - Together with "Hands off Cain", the association for the abolition of the death penalty by the year 2000 - of which Mr Adem Demaci from Kosova is member of the presidency -, recently we achieved the complete abolition of the death penalty in Italy, even from the Military criminal code of war. In New York, too, we were very successful in putting this issue on the agenda of the UN general assembly, with a wonderful, surpisingly overwhelming vote by the majority of the member-states. I consider this an important first step of the Radical party's campaign upon this question and I'm hopefully confident that, ultimately abolishing the death penalty, mankind will achieve the minimum guarantee of the basic right to live.
* THE REALPOLITIK AND THE HALF-AN-HOUR INTERVENTION
KOHA - Do You think that the so-called "localized" present conflict in Bosnia can expand over Balkans, thus facing the great powers with a conflictous situation, - especially if something similar could take place in the south of the Peninsula?
BONINO - The conflict in Bosnia is "localized" in the whole Europe, and it destroys the entire continent as in 1938 Europe was already defeated by its own cowardice, and now Europe finds itself in the same situation: even the Bosnia's Safe zones are not protected as they should be in force of UN resolutions, because of the "Realpolitik" of the Quay d'Orsay, the Foreign Office, and so on. A direct, less hypocritical intervention of NATO's air-strikes in application of UN resolutions could stop the conflict in Bosnia in less than half-a-hour, thus saving many lives of people who are going to die of war and starvation during the winter. When we'll achieve a real justice, we won't need fighter-bombers anymore. But at present, unfortunately, we still need, because, as Ghandi stated, real nonviolence means even to use force to stop a major violence.
KOHA - Do You consider the status of Serb "Krajina" in Croatia similar to the Kosova problem, since both regions are defined to be autonomous provinces?
BONINO - I didn't know that Krajina is a Serbian province! Instead I know that it is a region conquered by means of violent aggression. Serbs in Krajina have also guarantees under the croatian law, which matches the international standards on civil rights and protection of minorities, while the situation of Albanians in Kosovo seems to me to be very different.
KOHA - To what extent is Kosova issue (or is it at all) present within the EU?
BONINO - Among the sympathizers of Kosova inside the EU, you find for instance Mr Marco Pannella's radicals, who first proposed to Mr Adem Demaci to organize a Satyagraha on a worldwide dimension, starting from Kosova of course, but also involving nonviolent people from many other countries. Kosova has other supporters within the EU, but the problem consists in the faint of european contries' governments and their lack of political commitment to strenghten the federalist institutions. Kosova must keep on following Mr Demaci's example of nonviolent resistance, while we'll continue our work in the making of Europe, finally a real democratic-federalist Europe.
* FOR A "CIVIL GUARD" OF BLUE HELMETS
KOHA - Which are the political changes You think that should be immediately undertaken in order of avoiding the start of another conflict in Europe - especially in Balkans?
BONINO - Turning UN peace-keeping forces into peace-making ones, would be the first, most urgent measure, together with assuring the implementation of international justice through the permanent International Criminal Court. We reccomend also the formation of a Civil Guard of "blue helmets" - composed by volunteers and conscientious objectors -, which would occupy itself with humanitarian intervention and actions, to support the military forces under the direct control of the UN. This force could be responsible for effective "aggressive" pressure, and carrying out preventive actions and "nonconventional warfare", which would render actual war unnecessary. In few words, the most important thing to do in order to avoid conflicts is the reform of the United Nations into the context of a new, effective international Right.
KOHA - Do yo share the opinion that for the same political issues can or should be used different models of solutions? Concretly, can some political position favourable for Bosnian Serbs and disfavourable for Albanians in Kosova come up? Having in mind similar position and situation, do You think that (fearful) prolonging of solution of albanian issue for "times to come" could take place after solving Bosnia problem?
BONINO - I'm anti-dogmatic on principle, so that different models of solution could be possible, but must be just. I don't see the bosnian problem as bosnian only, in the same way I don't think to the breakdown and war in ex-Yugoslavia as a balkan problem only: on the opposite, I see these problems into the frame of an european or even worldwide context. The UN and the EU are the right places to discuss these issues. But please help the transnational Radical party to transform these institutions in a more democratic and federalist way. Helping us in doing so, you help yourselves too.
KOHA - Many expects Kosova syndrom to escalate in a new conflict or new war in this area unless the matter of its status is been properly solved. What is your opinion regarding Kosova issue and Albanians in general?
BONINO - Among the people expecting such a horrible, undesirable event, surely are the warlords and the vultures of the powerful military-industrial lobby who can easily make profits on your skin, as well as archaic politicians addicted by the sadly well-known Realpolitik. My opinion about Kosova is that it must be stopped the military occupation and the repressive measures brought to an end, then everybody will have a better environment for calmly discussing a peaceful solution of the issue.
* WITH PROTECTORATE OF UNO, TOWARDS THE CITIZENS' UNION
KOHA - Do you believe in realisation of theory of future Yugoslav federalism with Kosova as a third republic within?
BONINO - You must ask to people living in Kosova, they are to decide upon this issue. Restoring the autonomous status of Kosova could at least be a first step to encourage dialogue and release tension, the "conditio sine qua non" for starting a peaceful process for the solution of the Kosova issue. However, this is not enough, because real federalism must be democratic federalism, and now in ex-Yugoslavia I think it is not.
KOHA - Direct question. Will the conflict in Kosova take place?
BONINO - It depends by what do you mean for "conflict", for Kosova already being under repression and military occupation. Otherwise, if you mean something like Bosnia, the Radical party is already engaged in an effort to avoid such an horrible perspective, and we would like to get more support from people in Kosova, as well as Serbs of democratic faith. Being a transnational political tool as the Radical party is, we are ready to help a real dialogue. To use or not to use this chance, the choice is yours.
KOHA - People of Kosova voted their independent state. Do You see any real chances of realizing it?
BONINO - Interdependence, and union of european citizens, is the answer.
KOHA - Do You see any real chances for UN protectorate, quite rarely applied formula?
BONINO - Yes, I think that it is necessary furthering and developing, at a political and juridical level, the proposal of placing Kosova under the protection of UN, in accordance with the requests made by both the Presidents of Kosovo, Mr Rugova, and Albania, Mr Berisha.