In this era we live in, it has become more and more unsettling in a democracy to watch politicians in government or power turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the plights of their constituents (citizens) to protect and improve the interests of the people, the nation. Cries of helplessness ring at every corner, in every crevice of the developed as well as of the undeveloped nations. The ethics in activities of those in power that affect the citizens’ and the nation’s very lives and livelihood have become to resemble a kind of a “fly-by-night” phenomenon and, yet, they are crucial to the preservation or destruction, if unchecked, of humanity and prosperity.
It goes without saying that the government and society can no longer promote and enforce ethical behaviour solely through the utilisation of ethical codes of conduct or through the promulgation of a plethora of legislation. Something new is required – a measure that will at least serve as a deterrent for unethical behaviour which imposes irreparable or profound damage to national interests.
A group of citizens of Croatia has decided to establish the Croatian National Ethics Tribunal, which will not have behind it the force of the police or the State court system. It will, though, have the force of ethical arguments and public “finger pointing” at those who have inflicted damage upon Croatian interests and who have worked against Croatian independence and have betrayed Croatia in relation to its fight against Serb aggression.
As dr. Zvonimir Separovic, recently said at the launch of his book “The Croatian Claim” (Hrvatska Tužba) – pertaining to Croatian lawsuit against Serbia for genocide that was recently heard at the ICJ in The Hague – “Pantovcak (The Office of the President of Croatia) is a larger Serbian branch than the Embassy of Serbia in Zagreb, itself!” This statement needs no explanation, no corroboration – for it is the political truth that is bringing multitudes to their knees.
And so we are at the dawn of a new era in Croatia. A new era that will see a public Tribunal (Croatian National Ethics Tribunal) pave the way of standing firmly and loudly against the betrayers of Croatian national interests.
Proposal for the establishment of the Croatian National Ethics Tribunal
Croatia is in a deep political, moral and general crisis. The group of politicians in government does not manage the country with Croatian national interests at the helm. Betrayal of national interests is at work. It is time to establish a national ethical court that would bring judgments against individuals for betrayal of the country (treason).
We can find examples in Ancient Rome where individual citizens could raise a national claim (Actio popularis) against those who had acted contrary to public interests. In the last century we come across the Russell, and later the Sartre’s international tribunal that brought judgments against the U.S.A. for the war in Vietnam and later against Israel for the discrimination against the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. At the instigation of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela formed Commissions for Truth and Reconciliation at which informal judgments were delivered in South Africa – this was a form of lustration and a small number of individuals did consequently end up in official courts.
Different to the examples above, the Croatian case would mount a national ethics tribunal that would judge upon the responsibility for public actions when it’s assessed that the same constitute a betrayal of national interests.
National interest is defined as the aim a State has in the areas of economy, military or culture, but it can apply to wider areas as every interest that is of vital importance for the survival and prosperity of the people and the State.
Members of the Tribunal would be prominent individuals of moral integrity, professionalism and reputation, prominent personalities from public life. Judgments would be based on known ethical principles. The judgment is only moral in nature. Judgments would only be made in cases of severe breaches of ethical principles in public activities.
THE FIRST PREPARATORY MEETING
The Preparatory meeting with view to founding the Tribunal was held on 24 April 2014 and initiated by the Croatian Victimology Society. Those present included Prof. dr. Andrija Hebrang, Zeljko Olujic – prominent lawyer, dr. Nikola Debelic, prof.dr. Danko Milosevic, dr.Srecko Sladoljev, prof. Nevenka Nekic. Ante Beljo, Miljenko Romic – academic artist, Zdravko Vladanovic – lawyer, Rozalija Bartolic – the Association of Homeland Widows, Negzana Pavicic from Skabrnje, dr.med. Aleksandar Soltysik, and the meeting was chaired by dr. Zvonimir Separovic – the President of the Croatian Victimology Society. Apologies with support for the Tribunal were recorded from prof. dr. Zeljko Horvatic, Marko Franovic – Sydney, Australija, Ante Glibota – Paris, France , prof. dr. Josip Faricic – Zadar, prof. dr. Hrvoje Mazija, Zvonimir Hodak – lawyer, prof. dr. Branimir Luksic – Split, Vlado Iljkic – Headquarters for the Defence of Croatian Vukovar, Croatian Army general Tomo Medved, academic Slobodan Novak, prof. Josip Jurcevic – historian and politician, Mate Kovacevic – publicist.
The meeting accepted and delivered the following conclusions:
1. The establishment of the Croatian National Ethics Tribunal (HNES) is justified, current and socially beneficial;
2. The Tribunal in its activities is independent of the State and Political parties, objective, legitimate and it does not deliver executive decisions;
3. Research for the Tribunal’s use is undertaken by committees or by individuals appointed by the Tribunal;
4. The Tribunal proceedings are open to the public, Tribunal’s decisions are published to the public;
5. The person who is the subject of an investigation or a claim will be notified about the sitting of the Tribunal at which the hearing will take place, and they have the right of presence at the hearing;
6. The Tribunal’s Founding Assembly to be held by the end of May 2014 and other potential members of the Tribunal shall be invited to it;
7. The Organising Committee – Zvonimir Separović, Zeljko Olujic and Zdravko Vladanovic will prepare the draft of the Program Declaration and other essential documents for the Founding Assembly. ( Source of details regarding the founding process of the Tribunal: Dr. Zvonimir Separovic)
Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)