Raskovic’s psychiatric theories of the superiority of the Serbs and the ethnic inferiority of Muslims and Croats were used as justification for Serbs to murder and expel other ethnic groups from the former Yugoslavian states of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo and Serbia — thus “cleansing” the land of “inferior” peoples.
According to Dr. Boris Zmijanovic, the three most senior leaders of the Serbian Democratic Party created before the war by Raskovic were patients of Raskovic.
Their medical files were held in the neuropsychiatric clinic of Sibenik in the department run by Raskovic. The three leaders are Milan Martic, currently minister of the interior of the self-proclaimed Serbian Republic of Croatia, Jovan Opapic and Susan Zelembaba, both Serbian leaders in Croatia.
“Without scruples, Dr. Raskovic used his patients for his political ends. He manipulated them. It is very interesting to note that the first leaders of the Serbian Democratic Party of Croatia were also Raskovic’s patients. It is not known whether the neuropsychiatrist from Sibenik turned his patients into his political students or whether he turned his political students into patients to facilitate their manipulation.
“This was a very intelligent man who unfortunately used his intelligence for a negative purpose, to be able to direct and manipulate his fellows, to push them towards aggressiveness and collective hysteria and finally toward hate.”
In 1990, Raskovic organized many public meetings in Croatia, where he addressed the Serbs as follows:
“The Serbian people have awoken, you have awoken. You are the Serbian people. No one can do anything against you now. If we need to sell our skin, we’ll sell it dearly.”
He declared, “If there is a civil war, and our heads and those of the Croats fall — and it is certain that the heads of those currently in power in Croatia will also fall — defend yourself but do not provoke since we are a peace-loving people. We have never committed genocide, the way the Croats have done against us.
In response, the Croatian government sent in a troop of police officers, who were attacked and killed.
The partisans of the SDP then threw up roadblocks on all of the roads leading to Croatian zones harboring a majority of Serbs, forbidding access to non-Serbs.
The war had started in Croatia.
During the entire period of preparations for the war, Raskovic and all leaders of the SDP in Croatia were in constant contact with the government in Belgrade and with Milosevic.
“In fact,” stated a report from the Ministry of Information in Zagreb, “we can certify, basing ourselves on the proof at our disposal, that none of the important actions were carried out without Belgrade being informed or having granted approvals.
“To confirm this, we have discovered a number of direct and indirect contacts with the leaders in Serbia.... Jovan Raskovic was constantly in contact with Dobrica Cosic and sent him all information at his disposal. Raskovic asked Cosic to transmit his information and requests to official circles in Belgrade. He informed Cosic that the Serbs continued to arm themselves and that armaments were well monitored.”
Milan Martic, one of Raskovic’s patients and minister of the interior of the “Serbian Republic of Croatia,” declared in the news media that the president of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, had promised to arm the Serbs.
Most of these leaders subsequently left Croatia for Belgrade. Raskovic, knowing that war was about to break out in Croatia, took his daughter, a Serb like him, and his grandson to Belgrade, leaving his Croatian family in Zagreb.
Once in Belgrade, Raskovic became head of the research center of the Sveti Sava hospital.
In early 1991, Raskovic visited Bosnia-Herzegovina to continue his work.
The nationalistic exaltation of the Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina began with Raskovic.
He created the Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia-Herzegovina and put Radovan Karadzic, another psychiatrist, as its head. Together they held lectures where they spurred on the crowds.
When the war broke out in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the newspaper Glas Slavonije wrote, “The unhappiness of Bosnia-Herzegovina is once again due to a psychiatrist: Dr. Radovan Karadzic. Why are psychiatrists following Milosevic? This question has not yet been answered....”
Radovan Karadzic: The Good Pupil of Raskovic: The answer to the above question may be that Radovan Karadzic is a close friend of Milosevic and reportedly his former psychiatrist.
Karadzic’s father had been condemned for war crimes in connection with massacres of Muslims during the Second World War.
Karadzic’s family moved to Bosnia-Herzegovina when Karadzic was still a child.
“He always remained a stranger in this Bosnia which he detests,” wrote a witness, “as he cannot understand its spirituality and the complexity of its culture.”
Karadzic became a psychiatrist and practiced in Sarajevo.
He was known in that city for rather ludicrous efforts to establish himself as a poet. His poems were both mediocre and bloody, as witness this extract:
“I’m born to live without tomb,
“this divine body will not die.
“It’s not only born to smell flowers,
“But also to set fire, kill and
reduce everything to dust.”
Karadzic’s early involvement in politics was also unsuccessful. He was banned from the Communist Party after having served prison time for real estate fraud and embezzlement.
When Raskovic went to Bosnia to start his campaign to make the Serbs aware of nationalism, he got Karadzic involved.
During an interview in May 1990, when asked who had been his philosophical model, Karadzic answered, “Above all, Jovan Raskovic.”
The two psychiatrists traveled together on political campaigns in Bosnia to get Serbs elected and to influence the passions of the Serbs.
A startling Confession: Later, in early 1992, Raskovic appeared on television and made a startling public confession:
“I feel responsible because I made the preparations for this war, even if not the military preparations. If I hadn’t created this emotional strain in the Serbian people, nothing would have happened.
“My party and I lit the fuse of Serbian nationalism not only in Croatia but everywhere else in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It’s impossible to imagine an SDP in Bosnia-Herzegovina or a Mr. Karadzic in power without our influence. We have driven this people and we have given it an identity. I have repeated again and again to this people that it comes from heaven, not earth.”
The start of an interesting confession? Did Raskovic disagree with the leaders of the SDP and did he seek revenge? These are questions without answers, since he died shortly after making his statement.
Karadzic, however, continued their work of “ethnic cleansing.”
Vesnik, a popular Croatian daily, wrote:
“He started in politics thanks to his Serbian colleague Jovan Raskovic, the specialist of the Mad People. Karadzic accompanied Raskovic to nearly all Serb meetings in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
“Dr. Raskovic...who gave his people 120-mm rocket launchers, is also a Serb from non-Serb regions involved in Belgrade politics. Karadzic was a good pupil of Raskovic and subsequently managed well on his own.”
Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes by Karadzic’s campaign of terror.
Ethnic Cleansing: In September 1991, Karadzic declared in the national assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina:
“The Muslims must take care what they do, since they may well disappear.”
That is exactly what happened.
“The biggest part of the territory of former Yugoslavia,” Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the head of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights’ Subcommittee on the Yugoslavian Situation, declared in August 1992, “and in particular, Bosnia-Herzegovina, is currently the theater of massive and systematic violations of human rights.”
One tactic that is used to force Muslims and Croats to flee is to besiege a city by bombarding the centers inhabited by civilians and cutting food and other vital supplies.
The most dramatic example is that of Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, well-known for hosting the 1984 Winter Olympics. The hospital there was deliberately bombarded several times.
Cultural centers are also targeted, which makes certain observers think that the attackers intend to “kill” the city itself and destroy the tradition of tolerance and harmony between the ethnic group which it symbolizes.
Mr. Mazowiecki was informed of many cases of disappearances in territory controlled by the Serbs. Three thousand cases of disappearances were noted after the fall of Vukovar in eastern Croatia: “The victims were supposedly held in camps for a while, and then disappeared....”
These extracts from the report of Mr. Mazowiecki are very explicit. Ethnic cleansing had started and it is striking to note that an entire culture and civilization were targeted for genocide.
As one example, the Sarajevo library, containing essential elements of the culture of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was bombarded. The Bosnians made a chain to remove books while being shot at and killed by Karadzic’s soldiers.
Extermination: A new United Nations mission, again headed by Tadeusz Mazowiecki, former prime minister of Poland and a survivor of Nazi concentration camps, visited areas of former Yugoslavia in October 1992.
On October 27, Mr. Mazowiecki reported that he “very much wanted to draw attention to the fact that, since his first visit in August 1992, serious and large-scale violations of human rights continue to be committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Thousands of people are threatened with death and their human dignity is scoffed at....As stated in my first report, the Muslim population is the first victim and it is threatened with extermination.
“The purpose of ethnic cleansing has already largely been achieved with murders, violence, rape and the destruction of homes and threats. Such practices have been stepped up in recent weeks. Hundreds of thousands of people are forced to leave home and abandon everything.” (Emphasis added.)
Mr. Mazowiecki was particularly shocked “by the conditions in the Trnopolje camp, where more than three thousand people are crammed into three buildings and a few small houses. They live in terrible dirt, sleep under thin covers and straw infested with lice, drink contaminated water and survive on small rations of bread. Respiratory infections are spreading rapidly. Children and adults suffer from diarrhea, probably because of the contaminated water and a nearly total lack of hygiene.”
Most exiles can only find refuge outside the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
However, Croatia, which received hundreds of thousands of refugees, had trouble accepting more because its camps and hospitals became overloaded. For this reason, many fleeing Muslims were turned back at the border.
During the U.N. visit to Sarajevo, representatives from the religious communities, the authorities and non-government organizations confirmed the opinion that Sarajevo is a “dying city.” The population is desperate.
“Only an immediate cease-fire,” wrote Mr. Mazowiecki in this report, “can save the population of Sarajevo, as well as the other besieged cities, from extinction.”
Near Vukovar in Croatia and in other places, the U.N. mission discovered piles of unburied dead bodies.
The region formerly known as the country of Yugoslavia has roughly 23.8 million people. In January 1992, the population of Bosnia was roughly 4.2 million, as follows:
Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo: The U.N. mission also visited the other states of the former country of Yugoslavia. Mr. Mazowiecki stated that he considered “the current situation of Kosovo dangerous.”
“The discrimination policy is reflected,” he said, “in the laws and measures taken to destroy the bases of Albanian culture.”
In September 1990, the first Albanian-language schools were closed, even though the Albanians account for 90 percent of the population of Kosovo. The day the 1991-1992 school year started, Serbian police occupied many primary and secondary schools.
In Kosovo, 975 primary schools were recently closed and 14,500 Albanian teachers dismissed.
The U.N. mission also visited Vojvodina, in the north of Serbia. The information received “shows that ethnic cleansing is practiced regularly even though thus far at a smaller scale than in Bosnia.”
The mission noted, “The non-Serbs in Bosnia have been expelled from public positions, including the police, the courts and the government....”
During his assignment, Mr. Mazowiecki visited Serbia itself and noted that, “Despite the tolerance in Novi Pazar, a regional capital, incidents have been reported against the Muslim community. In the region bordering on Bosnia-Herzegovina...methods of ethnic cleansing are used. Houses belonging to Muslims are burned and mosques destroyed by terrorist attacks.”
If, as Radovan Karadzic claims, the purpose of the killing is to establish ethnically homogeneous regions, other states will be “cleansed” after Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.
Systematic Rape of Muslim Women: Psychiatrist Raskovic has succeeded in whipping up hatred and inflaming passion. His ideas have had impact, as evidenced by Serbian propaganda based on such concepts as “The Superior Serbian Being” and “The Serbian Soldier with a Mission.”
International organizations have begun to realize that Karadzic, despite an affable appearance and public relations image, is a small Hitler.
A German journalist recently inquired into the rape of Muslim women in Bosnia. After listening to testimony from many women, and having shared many tears with them, she came to the following conclusions:
The figure of 50,000 women raped, given by the Bosnian government, is accurate and
These rapes are a tactic of war rather than simply amusement for the soldiers. When Karadzic’s troops take a village, wholesale rape commences, then continues in subsequent prisoner camps.
While they are raping the women, Karadzic’s men say they are doing it because the women are Muslim and have to go.
The Tresnjevka Women’s Association has declared that these rapes are planned in order to halt the reproduction of Muslims.
Many Muslim women are now pregnant after forced sexual relations with Serbian soldiers, raising serious problems in the Muslim community.
Another aspect of the genocide is that the psychiatric institutions in Bosnia have been deserted. Those patients left in the care of the psychiatrists have been abandoned to die from their hunger, surrounded by their own waste.
Patricia Forestier is a director of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights in France.